A modular Wayland compositor library
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emersion Merge pull request #1260 from RyanDwyer/xwayland-set-decorations
xwayland: Introduce set_decorations event
Latest commit 5b687b4 Sep 24, 2018



Pluggable, composable, unopinionated modules for building a Wayland compositor; or about 40,000 lines of code you were going to write anyway.

  • wlroots provides backends that abstract the underlying display and input hardware, including KMS/DRM, libinput, Wayland, X11, and headless backends, plus any custom backends you choose to write, which can all be created or destroyed at runtime and used in concert with each other.
  • wlroots provides unopinionated, mostly standalone implementations of many Wayland interfaces, both from wayland.xml and various protocol extensions. We also promote the standardization of portable extensions across many compositors.
  • wlroots provides several powerful, standalone, and optional tools that implement components common to many compositors, such as the arrangement of outputs in physical space.
  • wlroots provides an Xwayland abstraction that allows you to have excellent Xwayland support without worrying about writing your own X11 window manager on top of writing your compositor.
  • wlroots provides a renderer abstraction that simple compositors can use to avoid writing GL code directly, but which steps out of the way when your needs demand custom rendering code.

wlroots implements a huge variety of Wayland compositor features and implements them right, so you can focus on the features that make your compositor unique. By using wlroots, you get high performance, excellent hardware compatibility, broad support for many wayland interfaces, and comfortable development tools - or any subset of these features you like, because all of them work independently of one another and freely compose with anything you want to implement yourself.

Status: prior to 1.0 the API is not stable, but we've done most of the work and various projects are using wlroots to build Wayland compositors with.

wlroots is developed under the direction of the sway project. A variety of wrapper libraries are available for using it with your favorite programming language.


Install dependencies:

  • meson
  • wayland
  • wayland-protocols
  • EGL
  • GLESv2
  • libdrm
  • GBM
  • libinput
  • xkbcommon
  • udev
  • pixman
  • systemd (optional, for logind support)
  • elogind (optional, for logind support on systems without systemd)
  • libcap (optional, for capability support)

If you choose to enable X11 support:

  • xcb
  • xcb-composite
  • xcb-xfixes
  • xcb-image
  • xcb-render
  • x11-xcb
  • xcb-errors (optional, for improved error reporting)
  • x11-icccm (optional, for improved Xwayland introspection)
  • xcb-xkb (optional, for improved keyboard handling on the X11 backend)

Run these commands:

meson build
ninja -C build

On FreeBSD, you need to pass an extra flag to prevent a linking error: meson build -D b_lundef=false.

Install like so:

sudo ninja -C build install

Running the test compositor

wlroots comes with a test compositor called rootston, which demonstrates the features of the library and is used as a testbed for the development of the library. It may also be useful as a reference for understanding how to use various wlroots features.

If you followed the build instructions above the rootston executable can be found at ./build/rootston/rootston. To use it, refer to the example config at ./rootston/rootston.ini.example and place a config file of your own at rootston.ini in the working directory (or in an arbitrary location via rootston -C). Other options are available, refer to rootston -h.