Wayfire wobbly windows wayland
Wayfire is way cool

Miss those crazy Compiz effects of old? If you’re a Linux user of a certain vintage you likely do — but hey: nothing is gone forever in open-source!

Wayfire is a promising open-source project attempting to resurrect some of the Compiz-era coolness and bring to the modern Linux desktop via Wayland.

We’re talking wobbly windows, over the top window animations, and, of course, a revival of the famous 3D cube — but all implemented in a way that doesn’t demand oodles of system power.

In fact, Wayfire aims to be lightweight in performance but a heavyweight in eye candy — which is pretty sweet!

Wayfire: What is it?

Now my understanding of Wayland, display managers, and compositors and protocols is wobbly at best, so I’ll let the project website do some of the explaining:

“Wayfire is a 3D floating wayland compositor, utilizing wlroots. For those of you unfamiliar with wayland, a wayland compositor is similar to compositing window managers in the X11 world. It is that one piece of software that coordinates all of your input and output devices and manages all of your opened applications.”

As mentioned, Wayfire makes use of wlroots, a ‘modular Wayland compositor library’ maintained by the folks behind the (equally terrific) Sway (an i3-friendly Wayland compositor).

Watch it in action

Chances are you didn’t come here to read about Wayland, wlroots or anything else, did you?

You came here wanting to see the compositor in all of its Compiz-inspired glory — and see it you shall:

Wayfire as demoed in the video above uses a “desktop environment” made up of Wayfire and a companion project called wf-shell (which is GTK3-based panel and wallpaper tool).

Also on show is the GUI wf-config settings app.

If you want to eyeball more eye candy you can! There’s entire playlist of videos up on YouTube demoing this wannabe window manager’s impressive roster of effects.

So How can I Use Wayfire?

If you like what you see and want to take it for a spin, you can: but you’ll need to build it from source.

You’ll also need to use the wf-shell package for now as, to the best of my knowledge, there’s no way (currently) to use Wayfire with a different desktop environment, be it i3, GNOME Shell or Plasma.

More details can be found on the Wayfire website.

What can Wayfire do?

Wayfire’s current code based is described as “pre-alpha quality”, with only “basic” functionality said to be implemented (plus a few advanced features too):

  • Wayland & Xwayland client integration
  • Workspaces
  • Configurable keyboard shortcuts
  • ‘On-the-fly’ changes (i.e. no need to restart)
  • Lots of plugins, including 3D desktop cube, grid, window snapping
  • Basic shell panel
  • Basic touchscreen gestures

Quite an impressive feature list for a fledgling project, isn’t it?

Come at Wayfire expecting missing features, bugs, and performance kinks and you likely won’t be disappointed. It’s already impressive. Come at it expecting anything more than that and, well, you’re free to ask for a refund.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this project.

H/T Sambot

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