Migrate From X to Wayland

I have watched the wayland now already for a long time. But I was afraid to switch on such a importent configuration in my desktop setup. Because I used i3 for long time now, because of that I want to switch direct to sway, but I don’t want to keep track of a self compiled sway, so I waited until sway get in Debian testing. This finially happens in the last month. I will write here a bit about expirence.


I have on my personal laptop no Display Manager. I start sway direct from my .zprofile After the login on tty1.

# start wayland
if [ "$(tty)" = "/dev/tty1" ]; then
  export GDK_BACKEND=wayland
  export CLUTTER_BACKEND=wayland
  export QT_QPA_PLATFORM=wayland-egl
  export QT_WAYLAND_FORCE_DPI=phyiscal
  export ECORE_EVAS_EVAS_ENGINE=wayland_egl
  export ELM_ENGINE=wayland_egl
  export SDL_VIDEODRIVER=wayland

	exec sway

I added also some environment variables here to tell application to use wayland.

In the testing phase I had my old X I3 setup running on tty1. I started wayland on tty2 to test all changes. After I was worked as expected I commented out my X startup and switch the sway startup to tty1.


Because I used I3 before there was no problem to migrate to sway.


I started from the default sway configuration and then migrate my i3 settings step by step in the sway configuration. I takes a while, but I was quite easy. For my whole configuration please check my dotfiles linked below.


Tray Icons

Tray Icons not working fully in sway. There I already an issue on github to track the progress.

screen lock after sleep

I setup i3lock to lock my screen always before go to sleep.

This cause problems, because systemd start always i3lock, but swayidle also start swaylock. The keyboard was somehow lost between them and I was not able to unlock my session.

I simple solve it by disable the i3lock:

sudo systemctl disable i3lock.service


To get Firefox using wayland you need to setup the environment variable MOZ_ENABLE_WAYLAND=1. I added it also to my .zprofile file. (See above)

My Firefox 68.5.0esr (Debian/bullseye) was not starting and give always the error message:

dbus[3833]: arguments to dbus_message_new_method_call() were incorrect, assertion "_dbus_check_is_valid_path (path)" failed in file ../../../dbus/dbus-message.c line 1366.
This is normally a bug in some application using the D-Bus library.

  D-Bus not built with -rdynamic so unable to print a backtrace
Redirecting call to abort() to mozalloc_abort

I found online a workaround for this by adding the option –no-remote to firefox then everthing works fine for me.

There is also already a bug at mozilla,that is already fixed. The fix will be in Firefox 74.


To get keepassxc working with wayland. I need to install the package qtwayland5. After that everthing works fine.


Overall the migration going really well. For the moment I have no problem. Let’s see how it is going.

I not fully migrated to wayland I use also xwayland. Because many application are not support wayland yet. For exampe chrome.


To have a full view about of my dotfiles check my Repo