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How To Enable Wayland in Ubuntu 18.04 After Upgrade

Ubuntu 10

In this guide, we will walk you through the process of enabling Wayland in Ubuntu 18.04 after an upgrade. Wayland is a protocol for a compositor to talk to its clients, as well as a library implementing the protocol. It is the future of Linux desktop environments and offers several performance improvements over the traditional X.Org server.

Prerequisites

Before we begin, ensure that you have upgraded to Ubuntu 18.04 and have access to a terminal and your system’s root account.

Checking for Wayland

  1. Accessing the Login Screen: The first step is to check if the Wayland option is already available on your system. On the login screen, click on the cogwheel (âš™ï¸) icon next to the sign-in button. If the Wayland option is available, you can select it to start a Wayland session.

If the Wayland option is not available, you will need to enable it manually, which we will cover in the next steps.

Enabling Wayland

  1. Accessing the Terminal: Open your terminal. This can usually be done by searching for ‘terminal’ in your system’s search bar or by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + T.
  2. Editing the GDM Configuration File: In the terminal, run the following command to edit the GDM (GNOME Display Manager) configuration file:
sudo nano /etc/gdm3/custom.conf

The sudo command allows you to run commands with the security privileges of the superuser, which is necessary for editing system files. nano is a simple text editor in Linux, and /etc/gdm3/custom.conf is the path to the configuration file that we need to edit.

  1. Modifying the Configuration File: In the configuration file, look for the line that says #WaylandEnable=false. This line is a comment (as denoted by the # symbol) and is not being read by the system. Uncomment this line by removing the # at the beginning, so it reads WaylandEnable=false. This will disable the X.Org server and enable Wayland.
  2. Saving and Exiting: Save the file and exit the editor. In nano, you can do this by pressing Ctrl + X, then Y to confirm the save, and finally Enter to confirm the file name.
  3. Restarting the GDM Service: Now, you need to restart the GDM service for the changes to take effect. Run the following command in the terminal:
sudo systemctl restart gdm3

The systemctl command is used to control the systemd system and service manager, and restart is the command to restart a service. gdm3 is the name of the service we are restarting.

Verifying the Changes

  1. Checking the Login Screen Again: Go back to the login screen. You should now see the Wayland option available. Select it to start a Wayland session.

Troubleshooting

If you still don’t see the Wayland option after following these steps, it could be due to an issue with the upgrade process. Fresh installations of Ubuntu 18.04 usually have the Wayland option available by default.

In case you are unable to log in to make these changes, you can boot into recovery mode and access the root shell to edit the GDM configuration file. Mount the root partition as read/write and then follow the above steps.

Conclusion

You have now successfully enabled Wayland on your Ubuntu 18.04 system. While Wayland is the future of Linux desktop environments, it’s worth noting that it may not work perfectly with all applications. Some applications, like Google Chrome, may have issues with font scaling. Keep this in mind when using Wayland.

If you encounter any issues or have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below. Happy computing!

What is Wayland?

Wayland is a protocol for a compositor to talk to its clients, as well as a library implementing the protocol. It is the future of Linux desktop environments and offers several performance improvements over the traditional X.Org server.

How do I check if Wayland is available on my Ubuntu 18.04 system?

On the login screen, click on the cogwheel (⚙️) icon next to the sign-in button. If the Wayland option is available, you can select it to start a Wayland session.

What if the Wayland option is not available on my system?

If the Wayland option is not available, you will need to enable it manually by editing the GDM configuration file.

How do I edit the GDM configuration file?

Open the terminal and run the command sudo nano /etc/gdm3/custom.conf to edit the GDM configuration file using the nano text editor.

How do I enable Wayland in the GDM configuration file?

In the configuration file, uncomment the line #WaylandEnable=false by removing the # symbol at the beginning, so it reads WaylandEnable=false. This will disable the X.Org server and enable Wayland.

How do I save and exit the editor in nano?

Press Ctrl + X, then Y to confirm the save, and finally Enter to confirm the file name.

How do I restart the GDM service?

Run the command sudo systemctl restart gdm3 in the terminal to restart the GDM service.

How do I verify if the changes have taken effect?

Go back to the login screen and check if the Wayland option is now available. Select it to start a Wayland session.

What should I do if I still don’t see the Wayland option after following the steps?

If the Wayland option is still not available, it could be due to an issue with the upgrade process. Fresh installations of Ubuntu 18.04 usually have the Wayland option available by default. If you are unable to log in to make the changes, you can boot into recovery mode and access the root shell to edit the GDM configuration file.

Are there any known issues with using Wayland?

While Wayland is the future of Linux desktop environments, it may not work perfectly with all applications. Some applications, like Google Chrome, may have issues with font scaling.

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