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authorSean Whitton <>2021-03-04 11:30:43 -0700
committerSean Whitton <>2021-03-04 11:30:43 -0700
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+While struggling with Pfizer second dose side effects yesterday, with little
+ability to do anything serious -- so surreal to have a fever yet also
+certainty you're not actually ill[1] -- I thought I'd try building the branch
+of Emacs with native Wayland support, and try starting up Sway instead of i3.
+I recently upgraded my laptop to Debian bullseye, as I usually do at this
+stage of our pre-release freeze, and was wondering whether bullseye would be
+the release which would enable me to switch to Wayland.
+Why might I want to do this? I don't care about screen tearing and don't have
+any fancy monitors with absurd numbers of pixels. Previously, I had been
+hoping to cling on to my X11 setup for as long as possible, and switch to
+Wayland only once things I want to use started working worse on X11, because
+all the developers of those things have stopped using X11. But then after
+upgrading to bullseye, I found I had to forward-port an old patch to
+xfce4-session to prevent it from resetting SSH_AUTH_SOCK to the wrong value,
+and I thought to myself, maybe I could cut out some of the layers here, and
+maybe it'll be a bit less annoying. I have a pile of little scripts trying to
+glue together xfce4 and i3 to get all the functionality I need, but since
+there have been people whose use their computers for similar purposes to me
+trying to make Sway useful for quite some time now, maybe there are more
+integrated solutions available.
+I have also been getting tired of things which have only ever half-worked
+under X, like toggling autolock off when there isn't fullscreen video playing
+(when I'm video conferencing on another device, I often want to prevent my
+laptop's screen from locking, and it works most of the time, but sometimes
+still locks, sigh). I have a "normalise desktop" keybinding which tries to
+fix recurrent issues by doing things like restarting ibus, and it would be
+nice to drop something so hackish.
+And indeed, a lot of basic things do work way better under Sway. swayidle is
+clean and sane, and I was easily able to add a keybinding which inhibits
+locking the screen when a certain window is visible. I could bind brightness
+up/down keys without having to invoke xfce4-power-manager -- never managed
+that before -- and, excitingly, I could have those keys bound such that they
+still work when the screen is locked. I still need two old scripts which
+interact with the i3/sway IPC, but those two are reasonable ways to extend
+functionality, rather than bad hacks.
+The main thing that I could not figure out is IME -- various people claim
+online to have got typing their Asian languages working natively under Sway,
+not just into Xwayland windows, but I couldn't, and there is no standard way
+to do it yet, it would seem. Also, it seems Qt in Debian doesn't support
+Wayland natively, so far as I could tell. And there isn't really a drop-in
+replacement for dmenu yet, so you have to run that under Xwayland. A lot of
+this is probably going to be fixed during 2021, but the thing is, I'll be on
+Debian bullseye, so how it works now is probably as good as it is going to get
+for the next two years or so.
+So, wanting to get back to doing something more useful today, I reluctantly
+booted back into X11. I'm really looking forward to switching to Sway, and
+getting rid of some of my hacks, but I think I am probably going to have to
+wait for Debian bookworm -- unless I completely run out of patience with the
+various X11 annoyances described above, and start furiously backporting
+[1] Okay, I could have caught the disease a few days ago and it became
+ symptomatic at the same time I was experiencing the side effects.