Is Wayland actually usable with Arch + KDE?

I have been trying the Wayland on the KDE desktop off and on for about a year or two. So far my experience has kept me switching back to X11. Wayland generally starts and runs but I would have small annoying errors that would crop up from time to time. As an example, as soon as I had logged in, if I opened an application it would not appear. It took me a while to figure out that I had to disable and re-enable compositing for applications to be drawn on the screen. Or, switching between users would cause problems. The latest update appears to have fixed that issue but now the lock screen seems to cause Wayland (or more appropriately Plasmashell to crash) so I return to a black desktop with no menu bars and none of my apps running. My system is and AMD Ryzen 2700 with a Vega 56 graphics card using the Open Source GPU driver stack.

My question is, should I even expect Wayland to be usable on Arch + KDE and these are issues that I just need to track down and fix? Or should I just accept that it isn’t working for the foreseeable future and continue to use X11?

Wayland support is still considered in “tech-preview state” on plasma. It gets better all the time but there are still lots of issues. There is no distro which has a completely smooth wayland/plasma experience, even those which ship it by default.

The question of “Is it is usable?” is harder to answer. Many people are using it and are happy with it. It depends how many of the issues actually impact your hardware and your workflow. It also depends how much some of the annoyances bother you. The last factor is how much benefit you gain from wayland and how that balances with the above issues.

Personally, I test wayland with every release but it has still not reached a point where I am comfortable with it for my use in my setup.


Is Wayland actually usable with Arch + KDE?

Depends on what you mean by usable. Do you get a working DE with Wayland? Can you open programs and do stuff? Yes.

Do you get every Plasma feature you have on Xorg? No.

In my opinion, the experience on Xorg is still far ahead of Wayland, when it comes to Plasma. It’s getting there slowly, but I don’t think it’s going to be very soon. For now, I stick to Xorg.


Everything said above by @dalto

Personally I use Wayland+KDE since plasma 5.21 and the benefits outweigh the papercuts regressions now. Every release since 5.21 improved the Wayland support considerably. The experience may be highly depended on you personal setup. For me with a multi-monitor, multi-orientation, multi DPI-configuration I can’t imagine going back to X (no matter the desktop environment).

Thanks for the replies. My experience thus far has been less than steller. I mean, it at least works on first log in now which is nice. But I just don’t find it reliable enough to use as my daily. It isn’t the features that aren’t working but rather the features that are supposed to work but end up crashing. IE, my lock screen causing plasmashell to crash when Wayland is enabled. Now I have to disable my lockscreen but with twin baby girls on the prowel that love keyboards, that risks them randomly punching keys and who knows what havoc that will cause.

I do appreciate that it is getting better. I guess it just feels weird that it has been in development for so long and yet issues are still being worked out. Not being a developer, I have no right to complain, just as a user, it feels odd that something would take so long to get to this point and still have problems being a usable daily environment.

I have been using it for a few months now and it’s a almost perfect experience for me.

Some issues that I have encountered are:

  • Sometimes copy and paste stops working to x11 apps and that app hangs for a second before it responds again (without pasting the data)
  • I have to go to the full-screen terminal if I want to turn off all monitors and leave my PC running overnight, since if I don’t, my session crashes since there are no monitors to display my programs.
  • Tooltips appearing near the right-click menu of something closes that right-click menu.
  • On my laptop that has a 4K screen, I can pick lower resolutions like 2560x1440. On Wayland I am stuck at the 4K resolution.

Those are the 3 that I clearly notice day to day, but I can work around some of them. I can’t ever go back to x11 now, it feels so sluggish now that I have experienced Wayland.

Yeah, for Plasma, Wayland is not fully baked yet. It’s a little burned at the edges, but still runny in the middle. So you cannot have your cake and eat it too. :moon_cake:
I use it patiently, where every so often the right-click menu will cease working, and various other applications fail completely or require hackarounds (Anydesk won’t work, Viber requires hack), but for the most part this is not a concern, as I’d rather be the willing test bed for this open source software, and it does make the desktop feel snappy.

X11 works great for me. I’m not usually an early adopter - I’ll probably be one of the last to join, with my ext4, X11 and LTS kernel. . . .


Well, in any case, if you’re curious, there’s no reason not to try it…

Just install the package plasma-wayland-session and reboot. On the next login, you’ll see an option for Wayland in the bottom right corner of SDDM. You can go back and forth between Wayland and Xorg whenever you want.

Personally, my biggest problem is that xdotool does not work at all, and I rely on it quite a bit.

I don’t know if works properly, but there is a xdotool-xwayland package inside the AUR. Just FYI.