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X server and Wayland Options

mviereck edited this page Mar 29, 2019 · 28 revisions

Choice of X server or Wayland compositor

If no X server option is specified, x11docker will automatically choose the best matching one depending on given or missing options --desktop, --gpu and --wayland. As default it assumes you want to run a single seamless application. The automatically chosen option will be shown in terminal output.


For a base of recommended dependencies and their package names see Dependencies - Recommended base.

Recommended base

Dependencies on host Available options
Minimal base Xorg (probably already installed) --hostdisplay
Recommended base xpra Xephyr --xpra
Recommended base
for --gpu
(except for proprietary
NVIDIA driver)
xpra weston Xwayland xdotool --xpra-xwayland
Recommended tools
(used in background)
xauth xclip xrandr xdpyinfo

Dependencies of all X server and Wayland options

For package names in several distributions look at Dependencies - Table of all packages.

X server or Wayland option Dependencies on host Runs on X Runs on Wayland Runs on console
--xpra xpra X - -
--xephyr Xephyr X - -
--nxagent nxagent X - -
--hostdisplay - X - -
--xorg Xorg (X) (X) X
--xpra-xwayland xpra weston Xwayland xdotool X - -
--weston-xwayland weston Xwayland X X X
--kwin-xwayland kwin_wayland Xwayland X X X
--xwayland Xwayland - X -
--xvfb Xvfb X X X
--xdummy dummy video driver X X X
--weston weston X X X
--kwin kwin_wayland X X X
--hostwayland - - X -
--vcxsrv VcXsrv (MS Windows only) - - -
--xwin xinit in Cygwin (MS Windows only) - - -


Attributes of X server and Wayland options

Option Supports seamless mode Supports --desktop mode Supports --gpu Supported by proprietary NVIDIA driver
--xpra X X - X
--xephyr - X - X
--nxagent X X - X
--hostdisplay X - X X
--xorg - X X X
--xpra-xwayland X X X -
--weston-xwayland - X X -
--kwin-xwayland - X X -
--xwayland - X X -
--xvfb - X (X) X
--xdummy - X (X) X
--weston - X X -
--kwin - X X -
--hostwayland X - X -
--vcxsrv X X X X
--xwin X X X X

Description of X server options

X server options Description
--auto (default) Automatically chooses an X server depending on installed dependencies and on given or missing options --desktop, --gpu and --wayland.
--xpra Seamless integration of application windows on host display.
Best --clipboard support, picture clips are possible.
Seamless scaling (0,5x, 1.5x, 3x ...) with option --scale.
(Supports option --desktop, too, but --xephyr is more performant in desktop mode.)
With option --gpu x11docker will use --xpra-xwayland.
--xephyr Nested X server for --desktop mode.
Desktop appears in a window on host display.
Quite fast and stable, but not resizeable.
--nxagent Fast and resizeable alternative to --xpra and --xephyr, but some compositing applications may fail.
--hostdisplay Shares host display :0 instead of running second X server.
Attention: Low security, quite bad container isolation!
Some x11docker security restrictions to avoid keylogging and remote host control may cause some applications to fail.
Options --clipboard and --gpu remove these restrictions.
If security is not a concern, get a quite fast setup with --hostdisplay --gpu.
--xorg Core Xorg server.
Switch between displays with keys [CTRL][ALT][F1]...[F12].
To run --xorg within X look at setup for option --xorg.
--xpra-xwayland Like --xpra, additionally supporting option --gpu.
Uses Weston and Xwayland in background.
Supports option --desktop, too, but --weston-xwayland is more performant in desktop mode.
--weston-xwayland All-rounder: can run nested on X or Wayland in a window or on its own from console.
Supports GPU acceleration, scaling (2x, 3x, 4x ...) and display rotation (0°, 90°, 180°, 270°, flipped, flipped-90°, ...).
--kwin-xwayland Like --weston-xwayland, but uses KWin instead of Weston.
Runs in X, in Wayland and from console.
--xwayland Core Xwayland needs a Wayland environment to run in.
Fullscreen display can be moved around with [META][LMB].
--xdummy --xvfb Invisible X server for custom access e.g. with SSH or HTML5.
Output of environment variables on stdout (--showenv).
With --gpu a setup with Weston, Xwayland and xdotool is used (instead of Xdummy or Xvfb).
--vcxsrv X server VcXsrv for MS Windows. Can be used for MSYS2, Cygwin and WSL.
--xwin X server Xwin for MS Windows. Can be used in Cygwin/X.
--tty Run without X or Wayland.

Description of Wayland options

Wayland options Description
--wayland Automatically sets up a Wayland environment.
Sets some Wayland environment variables.
Regards option --desktop.
--weston Weston without X to run pure Wayland applications.
Scaling and rotation is possible.
Runs in X, in Wayland and from console.
--kwin kwin_wayland without X to run pure Wayland applications.
Runs in X, in Wayland and from console.
--hostwayland Shares host Wayland socket without X to run pure Wayland applications.
Needs a running Wayland compositor.
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