This section details the manual installation and configuration of Wayland compositors and related services and utilities.


Unlike Xorg, Wayland implementations combine the display server, the window manager and the compositor in a single application.

Desktop Environments

GNOME, KDE Plasma and Enlightenment have Wayland sessions. GNOME uses its Wayland session by default. When using these desktop environments, applications built with GTK+ will automatically choose the Wayland backend, while Qt5 and EFL applications might require setting some environment variables if used outside KDE or Enlightenment, respectively.

Standalone compositors

Void Linux currently packages the following Wayland compositors:

  • Weston: reference compositor for Wayland
  • Sway: an i3-compatible Wayland compositor
  • Wayfire: 3D Wayland compositor
  • Hikari: a stacking compositor with some tiling features
  • Cage: a Wayland kiosk
  • River: a dynamic tiling Wayland compositor
  • labwc: a window-stacking compositor, inspired by Openbox
  • Qtile: a dynamic tiling Wayland compositor (via qtile-wayland)

Video drivers

Both GNOME and KDE Plasma have EGLStreams backends for Wayland, which means they can use the proprietary NVIDIA drivers. Most other Wayland compositors require drivers that implement the GBM interface. The main driver for this purpose is provided by the mesa-dri package. The "Graphics Drivers" section has more details regarding setting up graphics in different systems.

Seat management

Wayland compositors require some way of controlling the video display and accessing input devices. In Void systems, this requires a seat manager service, which can be either elogind or seatd. Enabling them is explained in the "Session and Seat Management" session.

Native applications

Qt5-based applications require installing the qt5-wayland package and setting the environment variable QT_QPA_PLATFORM=wayland-egl to enable their Wayland backend. Some KDE specific applications also require installing the kwayland package. EFL-based applications require setting the environment variable ELM_DISPLAY=wl, and can have issues without it, due to not supporting XWayland properly. SDL-based applications require setting the environment variable SDL_VIDEODRIVER=wayland. GTK+-based applications should use the Wayland backend automatically. Information about other toolkits can be found in the Wayland documentation.

Media applications, such as mpv(1), vlc(1) and imv work natively on Wayland.

Web browsers

Mozilla Firefox ships with a Wayland backend which is disabled by default. To enable the Wayland backend, either set the environment variable MOZ_ENABLE_WAYLAND=1 before running firefox or use the provided firefox-wayland script.

Browsers based on GTK+ or Qt5, such as Midori and qutebrowser(1), should work on Wayland natively.

Running X applications inside Wayland

If an application doesn't support Wayland, it can still be used in a Wayland context. XWayland is an X server that bridges this gap for most Wayland compositors, and is installed as a dependency for most of them. Its package is xorg-server-xwayland. For Weston, the correct package is weston-xwayland.


The Wayland library requires the XDG_RUNTIME_DIR environment variable to determine the directory for the Wayland socket.

It is also possible that some applications use the XDG_SESSION_TYPE environment variable in some way, which requires that you set it to wayland.