waypipe - Man Page

A transparent proxy for Wayland applications


waypipe [options...] ssh [ssh options] destination command...

waypipe [options...] client
waypipe [options...] server -- command...
waypipe recon control_pipe new_socket_path
waypipe bench bandwidth
waypipe [--version] [-h, --help]

[options...] = [-c, --compress C] [-d, --debug] [-n, --no-gpu] [-o, --oneshot] [-s, --socket S] [--allow-tiled] [--control C] [--display D] [--drm-node R] [--remote-node R] [--remote-bin R] [--login-shell] [--threads T] [--unlink-socket] [--video[=V]]


Waypipe is a proxy for Wayland clients, with the aim of supporting behavior like ssh -X.

Prefixing an ssh ... command to become waypipe ssh ... will automatically run waypipe both locally and remotely, and modify the ssh command to set up forwarding between the two instances of waypipe. The remote instance will act like a Wayland compositor, letting Wayland applications that are run remotely be displayed locally.

When run as waypipe client, it will open a socket (by default at /tmp/waypipe-client.sock) and will connect to the local Wayland compositor and forward all Wayland applications which were linked to it over the socket by a matching waypipe server instance.

When run as waypipe server, it will run the command that follows in its command line invocation, set up its own Wayland compositor socket, and try to connect to its matching waypipe client socket (by default /tmp/waypipe-server.sock) and try to forward all the Wayland clients that connect to fake compositor socket to the matching waypipe client.

The waypipe recon mode is used to reconnect a waypipe server instance which has had a control pipe (option --control) set. The new socket path should indicate a Unix socket whose connections are forwarded to the waypipe client that the waypipe server was initially connected to.

The waypipe bench mode can be used to estimate, given a specific connection bandwidth in MB/sec, which compression options produce the lowest latency. It tests two synthetic images, one made to be roughly as compressible as images containing text, and one made to be roughly as compressible as images containing pictures.


-c C, --compress C

Select the compression method applied to data transfers. Options are none (for high-bandwidth networks), lz4 (intermediate), zstd (slow connection). The default compression is none.† The compression level can be chosen by appending = followed by a number. For example, if C is zstd=7, waypipe will use level 7 Zstd compression.

† In a future version, the default will change to lz4.

-d,  --debug

Print debug log messages.

-h,  --help

Show help message and quit.

-n,  --no-gpu

Block protocols like wayland-drm and linux-dmabuf which require access to e.g. render nodes.

-o,  --oneshot

Only permit a single connection, and exit when it is closed.

-s S, --socket S

Use S as the path for the Unix socket. The default socket path for server mode is /tmp/waypipe-server.sock; for client mode, it is /tmp/waypipe-client.sock; and in ssh mode, S gives the prefix used by both the client and the server for their socket paths. The default prefix in ssh mode is /tmp/waypipe.


Briefly describe Waypipe's version and the features it was built with, then quit. Possible features: LZ4 compression support, ZSTD compression support, ability to transfer DMABUFs, video compression support, VAAPI hardware video de/encoding support.


By default, waypipe filters out all advertised DMABUF formats which have format layout modifiers, as CPU access to these formats may be very slow. Setting this flag disables the filtering. Since tiled images often permit faster GPU operations, most OpenGL applications will select tiling modifiers when they are available.

--control C

For server or ssh mode, provide the path to the "control pipe" that will be created the the server. Writing (with waypipe recon C T, or 'echo -n T > C') a new socket path to this pipe will make the server instance replace all running connections with connections to the new Unix socket. The new socket should ultimately forward data to the same waypipe client that the server was connected to before.

--display D

For server or ssh mode, provide WAYLAND_DISPLAY and let waypipe configure its Wayland display socket to have a matching path. (If D is not an absolute path, the socket will be created in the folder given by the environment variable XDG_RUNTIME_DIR.)

--drm-node R

Specify the path R to the drm device that this instance of waypipe should use and (in server mode) notify connecting applications about.

--remote-node R

In ssh mode, specify the path R to the drm device that the remote instance of waypipe (running in server mode) should use.

--remote-bin R

In ssh mode, specify the path R to the waypipe binary on the remote computer, or its name if it is available in PATH. It defaults to waypipe if this option isn’t passed.


Only for server mode; if no command is being run, open a login shell.

--threads T

Set the number of total threads (including the main thread) which a waypipe instance will create. These threads will be used to parallelize compression operations. This flag is passed on to waypipe server when given to waypipe ssh. The flag also controls the thread count for waypipe bench. The default behavior (choosable by setting T to 0) is to use half as many threads as the computer has hardware threads available.


Only for server mode; on shutdown, unlink the Unix socket that waypipe connects to.


Compress specific DMABUF formats using a lossy video codec. Opaque, 10-bit, and multiplanar formats, among others, are not supported. V is a comma separated  list of options to control the video encoding. Using the --video flag without setting any options is equivalent to using the default setting of: --video=sw,bpf=120000,h264. Later options supersede earlier ones.


Use software encoding and decoding.


Use hardware (VAAPI) encoding and decoding, if available. This can be finicky and may only work with specific window buffer formats and sizes.


Use H.264 encoded video.


Use VP9 encoded video.


Set the target bit rate of the video encoder, in units of bits per frame. B can be written as an integer or with exponential notation; thus --video=bpf=7.5e5 is equivalent to --video=bpf=750000.


Deprecated option, equivalent to --video=hw .


The following waypipe ssh subcommand will attempt to run weston-flower on the server exserv, displaying the result on the local system.

  	waypipe ssh user@exserv weston-flower

One can obtain similar behavior by explicitly running waypipe and ssh:

  	waypipe --socket /tmp/socket-client client  &
  	ssh -R /tmp/socket-server:/tmp/socket-client user@exserv \
  		waypipe --socket /tmp/socket-server server -- weston-flower
  	kill %1

Waypipe may be run locally without an SSH connection by specifying matching socket paths. For example:

  	waypipe --socket /tmp/waypipe.sock client &
  	waypipe --socket /tmp/waypipe.sock server weston-simple-dmabuf-egl
  	kill %1
  	rm /tmp/waypipe.sock

Using transports other than SSH is a bit more complicated. A recipe with ncat to connect to remote from computer local:

      $ waypipe --socket /tmp/waypipe-remote.sock client &
      $ ncat --ssl -lk 12345 --sh-exec 'ncat -U /tmp/waypipe-remote.sock' &
      $ ssh user@remote

    > ncat -lkU /tmp/waypipe-local.sock --sh-exec 'ncat --ssl local 12345' &
    > waypipe --display wayland-local \
                --socket /tmp/waypipe-local.sock server -- sleep inf &
    > WAYLAND_DISPLAY=wayland-local application

Given a certificate file, socat can also provide an encrypted connection (remove 'verify=0' to check certificates):

      $ waypipe --socket /tmp/waypipe-remote.sock client &
      $ socat openssl-listen:12345,reuseaddr,cert=certificate.pem,verify=0,fork \
      $ ssh user@remote

    > socat unix-listen:/tmp/waypipe-local.sock,reuseaddr,fork \
        openssl-connect:local:12345,verify=0 &
    > waypipe --socket /tmp/waypipe-local.sock server -- application

Many applications require specific environment variables to use Wayland instead of X11. If ssh isn't configured to support loading ~/.ssh/environment, or to allow specific variables to be set with AcceptEnv/SetEnv, one can run waypipe ssh without a command (and thereby open a login shell), or use env to set the needed variables each time:

  	 waypipe ssh user@host env XDG_SESSION_TYPE=wayland dolphin

In some cases, one may wish to set environment variables for the waypipe server process itself; the above trick with env will not do this, because the env process will be a child of waypipe server, not the other way around. Instead, one can use ~/.ssh/environment, or use the --remote-bin option to change the remote Waypipe instance to a shell script that sets the environment before running the actual waypipe program.

Waypipe has support for reconnecting a waypipe client and a waypipe server instance when whatever was used to transfer data between their sockets fails. For this to work, waypipe must still be running on both sides of the connection. As the waypipe ssh wrapper will automatically close both the waypipe client and the waypipe server when the connection fails, the client and server modes must be run seprately. For example, to persistently forward applications running on server rserv to a local Wayland compositor running on lserv, one would first set up a waypipe client instance on lserv,

  	waypipe -s /tmp/waypipe.sock client &

and on server rserv, establish socket forwarding and run the server

  	ssh -fN -L /tmp/waypipe-lserv.sock:/tmp/waypipe.sock user@lserv
  	waypipe -s /tmp/waypipe-lserv.sock --control /tmp/ctrl-lserv.pipe \
  		--display wayland-lserv server -- sleep inf &

then set WAYLAND_DISPLAY=wayland-lserv and run the desired applications. When the ssh forwarding breaks, on rserv, reconnect with

  	ssh -fN -L /tmp/waypipe-lserv-2.sock:/tmp/waypipe.sock user@lserv
  	waypipe recon /tmp/ctrl-lserv.pipe /tmp/waypipe-lserv-2.sock


When running as a server, by default WAYLAND_DISPLAY will be set for the invoked process.

If the --oneshot flag is set, waypipe will instead set WAYLAND_SOCKET and inherit an already connected socketpair file descriptor to the invoked (child) process. Some programs open and close a Wayland connection repeatedly as part of their initialization, and will not work correctly with this flag.

Exit Status

waypipe ssh will exit with the exit status code from the remote command, or with return code 1 if there has been an error.


File bug reports at: https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/mstoeckl/waypipe/

Some programs (gnome-terminal, firefox, kate, among others) have special mechanisms to ensure that only one process is running at a time. Starting those programs under Waypipe while they are running under a different Wayland compositor may silently open a window or tab in the original instance of the program. Such programs may have a command line argument to create a new instance.

See Also

weston(1), ssh(1), socat(1), ncat(1)