Tumbleweed, Gnome and Wayland

Recently, openSUSE Tumbleweed updated Gnome to version 3.24.  So I decided to give it a test.  And I ran into some “problems”.  This post will discuss those problems.

Gnome under Wayland

My oldest Tumbleweed system was installed in November 2014.  And that’s where I first tested Gnome.  At the time, I was using “sddm” for logins.  Selecting “Gnome” on the login menu gave me a Gnome session running under X11.  This was as expected.  There was also a menu item for “Gnome-Wayland”.  Selecting that gave me Gnome running under Wayland for managing the graphics.

I later switched to using “gdm” as login manager.  And, with “gdm”, selecting “Gnome” gave me a Wayland session.

Next, I tried on my laptop.  Tumbleweed was installed there on March 14 this year.  I was already configured to use “gdm” for logins there.  But, try as I did, I was unable to get a Wayland session for Gnome.

I wondered whether I was missing a package.  So I use Yast to search for packages with “wayland” as part of the package name.  And that led me to the solution.  On the system that I first tested, there was a package “gnome-session-wayland”.  On my laptop, that package was in the repos but not installed.  So I installed that.  And after installing that package, I was able to run Gnome under Wayland.

I really don’t know why that package was not installed.  When installing Tumbleweed on the laptop, I selected KDE as the desktop.  But then I added the Gnome patterns.  It must be that “gnome-session-wayland” is not selected in the Gnome patterns.  I presume it would have been selected if I had installed Gnome as the primary desktop.

X-applications under Wayland

The first problem that I ran into, was in running X-applications.  That had worked with earlier releases of Gnome.

The easy test is to run “xterm”.  And that work.  The next test was to use “su” to become root, and start and “xterm” as root.  That did not work.  Similarly, running “yast2” as root did not work.

Fred Crozat gave me the solution in an email message to the factory mailing list.  I could enable X-applications to work for root with

xhost +SI:localuser:root

I needed to do that as myself before becoming root (or in a different terminal window than the one used by root).  Apparently the MIT-MAGIC-COOKIE authentication is no longer supported for X-emulation under Wayland.

Gnome then KDE

I ran into another issue.  If I login to Gnome-Wayland, and then logout, I cannot login to KDE.  An attempt to login to KDE fails, and I just get the login screen back.  However, I can login to KDE as a different user.  Or I can login to Icewm as myself.

It seems that what happens, is that a bunch of Gnome processes are left running when I logout.  And since these are running under Wayland, they cause problems starting an X-session for KDE.  Similarly, after Gnome-Wayland, I cannot login to Gnome-X11.  But I can still login to Gnome-Wayland.

I have tried killing those left-over processes.  I can do that in an Icewm session or with a virtual console login.  After killing those, I am then able to login to KDE.

Gnome and touchpad

I don’t much like touchpads, so I have a USB mouse plugged in.  I normally try to disable the touchpad on my laptop.  In Gnome, I do this using the Fn key sequence provided for this laptop.

That works fine with Gnome-Wayland.  But it does not work at all with Gnome-X11.  I guess I should avoid Gnome-X11 because of this problem.  While typing, I tend to accidentally tap the touchpad, which causes problems if I cannot disable it.


Those are my experiences with Gnome 3.24 on Tumbleweed.  I’m mainly a KDE user, so my testing is not very thorough.  As best I can tell, most everything else works fine with Gnome 3.24.


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About Neil Rickert

Retired mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

One response to “Tumbleweed, Gnome and Wayland”

  1. Ismael NG says :

    Thanks for the review. I’m looking to install Wayland, Have you ran into trouble lately?


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