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Smithay Build Status Join the chat on matrix at Join the chat via bridge on #smithay on

A smithy for rusty wayland compositors


Smithay aims to provide building blocks to create wayland compositors in Rust. While not being a full-blown compositor, it'll provide objects and interfaces implementing common functionalities that pretty much any compositor will need, in a generic fashion.

It supports the core Wayland protocols, the official protocol extensions, and some external extensions, such as those made by and for wlroots and KDE


  • Documented: Smithay strives to maintain a clear and detailed documentation of its API and its functionalities. Compiled documentations are available on for released versions, and here for the master branch.
  • Safety: Smithay will target to be safe to use, because Rust.
  • Modularity: Smithay is not a framework, and will not be constraining. If there is a part you don't want to use, you should not be forced to use it.
  • High-level: You should be able to not have to worry about gory low-level stuff (but Smithay won't stop you if you really want to dive into it).



You'll need to install the following dependencies (note, that those package names may vary depending on your OS and linux distribution):

  • libwayland
  • libxkbcommon
These are needed for the "Udev/DRM backend"

If you want to enable X11 support (to run X11 applications within anvil), then you'll need to install the following packages as well: - xwayland

Build and run

Like others, Smithay as a compositor library has its own sample compositor: anvil.

You can run it with cargo after having cloned this repository:

cd anvil;

cargo run -- --{backend}

The currently available backends are:

  • --x11: start anvil as an X11 client. This allows you to run the compositor inside an X11 session or any compositor supporting XWayland. Should be preferred over the winit backend where possible.
  • --winit: start anvil as a Winit application. This allows you to run it inside of an other X11 or Wayland session.
  • --tty-udev: start anvil in a tty with udev support. This is the "traditional" launch of a Wayland compositor. Note that this requires you to start anvil as root if your system does not have logind available.

Contact us

If you have questions or want to discuss the project with us, our main chatroom is on Matrix: You can also join it via an IRC bridge, on #smithay on