I am researching differences between xorg and wayland and am being confused by one thing. X11 runs with the Xorg server and a separate window manager for compositing, and Wayland uses display servers that also handle compositing. What confuses me is that it sounds as if all Wayland display servers are window managers, whereas with Xorg the window manager is separate from the display manager. With Wayland do the window managers take the place of the display server as well?

It’s confusing to think about. I guess what I’m wondering is under Wayland, are the display servers window managers or are the window managers display servers, or both?


Pretty much. The Wayland FAQ summarizes what you said rather succinctly:

How can I replace Wayland's Window Manager?

The Wayland architecture integrates the display server, window manager and compositor into one process ...

Side note: For Xorg, the compositor can be a separate program from the window manager, as in compton.

  • So now what I’m wondering, is it that the display servers have window manager functionality, or that the window managers also act as display servers? I assume a window manager would have to be made specifically for Wayland, so does that mean that they were primarily designed to be display servers, or is it that they are mainstream window managers that can double as display servers? (This is probably me really overthinking it) – Sir Platypus May 23 '18 at 17:49

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