The Linux Mint team has announced definitive plans to implement Wayland in their Cinnamon desktop environment, with the first release slated for end-of-year.
Linux Mint is one of the most popular Linux distributions (distros), the highest rated among those we have reviewed at WPN, and this writer’s personal favorite. The distro comes in two editions, one based on Ubuntu and the other based on Debian. While the Ubuntu-based version comes with a choice of desktop environments, Cinnamon is the default option and the one that is directly developed by the Linux Mint team.
Cinnamon is one of the most well-rounded desktop environments, offering most of the customization options of KDE combined with the stability and reliability of Gnome or Xfce. One glaring omission, however, has been Wayland support. Wayland is the successor to X11, offering a number of performance and security improvements. The Mint team had hinted they would begin looking at Wayland implementation, but there had been no firm information, at least not until today.
In a blog post, project lead Clément (Clem) Lefèbvre outlined the team’s plans:
The work started on Wayland. As mentioned earlier this year, this was identified as one of the major challenges our project had to tackle in the mid to long term. Priority had been given to ISO tools and Secureboot over new features for 21.3 already, we felt it was time to invest some resources into Wayland as well.
Clem says experimental Wayland support will show up in the 21.3 release slated for Christmas:
Cinnamon 6.0, planned for Mint 21.3 this year, will feature experimental Wayland support. You’ll be able to select between Cinnamon (the default session, running on Xorg) and Cinnamon on Wayland from the login screen.
Clem cautions that Wayland won’t be ready for most users for a couple of years, but the team wanted to start working in that direction and give adventurous users the ability to test it:
We wanted to have a clear picture of the work involved, so we wanted to start now. In terms of timing we don’t think we need Wayland support to be fully ready (i.e. to be a better Cinnamon option for most people) before 2026 (Mint 23.x). That leaves us 2 years to identify and to fix all the issues. It’s something we’ll continue to work on. Whenever it happens, assuming it does, we’ll consider switching defaults. We’ll use the best tools to do the job and provide the best experience. Today that means Xorg. Tomorrow it might mean Wayland. We’ll be ready and compatible with both.
Overall, Clem’s announcement is very much in line with the project’s overall direction. The Mint team is known for taking measured action and making calculated decisions that emphasize stability and reliability. Given the many issues Wayland still has — with even some Wayland developers cautioning against using it in a production environment — the Mint team’s decision to proceed slowly and carefully should serve its users well.