weston - Man Page

the reference Wayland server




weston is the reference implementation of a Wayland server. A Wayland server is a display server, a window manager, and a compositor all in one. Weston has several backends as loadable modules: it can run on Linux KMS (kernel modesetting via DRM), as an X client, or inside another Wayland server instance.

Weston supports fundamentally different graphical user interface paradigms via shell plugins. Two plugins are provided: the desktop shell, and the kiosk shell.

Weston also supports X clients via XWayland, see below.



The DRM backend uses Linux KMS for output and evdev devices for input. It supports multiple monitors in a unified desktop with DPMS. See weston-drm(7), if installed.


The Wayland backend runs on another Wayland server, a different Weston instance, for example. Weston shows up as a single desktop window on the parent server.


The X11 backend runs on an X server. Each Weston output becomes an X window. This is a cheap way to test multi-monitor support of a Wayland shell, desktop, or applications.


The RDP backend runs in memory without the need of graphical hardware. Access to the desktop is done by using the RDP protocol. Each connecting client has its own seat making it a cheap way to test multi-seat support. See weston-rdp(7), if installed.


Each of these shells have its own public protocol interface for clients. This means that a client must be specifically written for a shell protocol, otherwise it will not work.

Desktop shell

Desktop shell is like a modern X desktop environment, concentrating on traditional keyboard and mouse user interfaces and the familiar desktop-like window management. Desktop shell consists of the shell plugin desktop-shell.so and the special client weston-desktop-shell which provides the wallpaper, panel, and screen locking dialog.

Fullscreen shell

Fullscreen shell is intended for a client that needs to take over whole outputs, often all outputs. This is primarily intended for running another compositor on Weston. The other compositor does not need to handle any platform-specifics like DRM/KMS or evdev/libinput. The shell consists only of the shell plugin fullscreen-shell.so.


In-vehicle infotainment shell is a special purpose shell that exposes a GENIVI Layer Manager compatible API to controller modules, and a very simple shell protocol towards clients. IVI-shell starts with loading ivi-shell.so, and then a controller module which may launch helper clients.


XWayland requires a special X.org server to be installed. This X server will connect to a Wayland server as a Wayland client, and X clients will connect to the X server. XWayland provides backwards compatibility to X applications in a Wayland stack.

XWayland is activated by instructing weston to load the XWayland module, see Examples. Weston starts listening on a new X display socket, and exports it in the environment variable DISPLAY. When the first X client connects, Weston launches a special X server as a Wayland client to handle the X client and all future X clients.

It has also its own X window manager where cursor themes and sizes can be chosen using XCURSOR_PATH and XCURSOR_SIZE environment variables. See Environment.


Weston core options

-Bbackend.so, --backend=backend.so

Load backend.so instead of the default backend. The file is searched for in /usr/lib64/weston, or you can pass an absolute path. The default backend is drm-backend.so unless the environment suggests otherwise, see DISPLAY and WAYLAND_DISPLAY.

-cconfig.ini, --config=config.ini

Load config.ini instead of weston.ini. The argument can also be an absolute path starting with a /. If the path is not absolute, it will be searched in the normal config paths, see weston.ini(5). If also --no-config is given, no configuration file will be read.


Enable debug protocol extension weston_debug_v1 which any client can use to receive debugging messages from the compositor.

WARNING: This is risky for two reasons. First, a client may cause a denial-of-service blocking the compositor by providing an unsuitable file descriptor, and second, the debug messages may expose sensitive information. Additionally this will expose weston-screenshooter interface allowing the user to take screenshots of the outputs using weston-screenshooter application, which can lead to silently leaking the output contents.  This option should not be used in production.

-lscope1,scope2, --logger-scopes=scope1,scope2

Specify to which log scopes should subscribe to. When no scopes are supplied, the log "log" scope will be subscribed by default. Useful to control which streams to write data into the logger and can be helpful in diagnosing early start-up code.

-fscope1,scope2, --flight-rec-scopes=scope1,scope2

Specify to which scopes should subscribe to. Useful to control which streams to write data into the flight recorder. Flight recorder has limited space, once the flight recorder is full new data will overwrite the old data. Without any scopes specified, it subscribes to 'log' and 'drm-backend' scopes. Passing an empty value would disable the flight recorder entirely.


Print the program version.

-h,  --help

Print a summary of command line options, and quit.

-iN, --idle-time=N

Set the idle timeout to N seconds. The default timeout is 300 seconds. When there has not been any user input for the idle timeout, Weston enters an inactive mode. The screen fades to black, monitors may switch off, and the shell may lock the session. A value of 0 effectively disables the timeout.


Append log messages to the file file.log instead of writing them to stderr.


Ask Weston to load the XWayland module.


Load the comma-separated list of modules. Only used by the test suite. The file is searched for in /usr/lib64/weston, or you can pass an absolute path.


Do not read weston.ini for the compositor. Avoids e.g. loading compositor modules via the configuration file, which is useful for unit tests.

-Sname, --socket=name

Weston will listen in the Wayland socket called name. Weston will export WAYLAND_DISPLAY with this value in the environment for all child processes to allow them to connect to the right server automatically.


Raises SIGSTOP before initializing the compositor. This allows the user to attach with a debugger and continue execution by sending SIGCONT. This is useful for debugging a crash on start-up when it would be inconvenient to launch weston directly from a debugger. There is also a weston.ini option to do the same.

DRM backend options

See weston-drm(7).

Wayland backend options


Name of the Wayland display to connect to, see also WAYLAND_DISPLAY of the environment.


Create a single fullscreen output


Create N Wayland windows to emulate the same number of outputs.

--width=W, --height=H

Make all outputs have a size of WxH pixels.


Give all outputs a scale factor of N.


Use the pixman renderer.  By default, weston will try to use EGL and GLES2 for rendering and will fall back to the pixman-based renderer for software compositing if EGL cannot be used.  Passing this option will force weston to use the pixman renderer.

X11 backend options


Do not provide any input devices. Used for testing input-less Weston.


Create N X windows to emulate the same number of outputs.

--width=W, --height=H

Make the default size of each X window WxH pixels.


Give all outputs a scale factor of N.


Use the pixman renderer.  By default weston will try to use EGL and GLES2 for rendering.  Passing this option will make weston use the pixman library for software compsiting.

RDP backend options

See weston-rdp(7).


If the environment variable is set, the configuration file is read from the respective path.




The X display. If DISPLAY is set, and WAYLAND_DISPLAY is not set, the default backend becomes x11-backend.so.


If set to any value, causes libwayland to print the live protocol to stderr.


The name of the display (socket) of an already running Wayland server, without the path. The directory path is always taken from XDG_RUNTIME_DIR. If WAYLAND_DISPLAY is not set, the socket name is "wayland-0".

If WAYLAND_DISPLAY is already set, the default backend becomes wayland-backend.so. This allows launching Weston as a nested server.


For Wayland clients, holds the file descriptor of an open local socket to a Wayland server.


Weston sets this variable to the absolute path of the configuration file it loads, or to the empty string if no file is used. Programs that use weston.ini will read the file specified by this variable instead, or do not read any file if it is empty. Unset variable causes falling back to the default name weston.ini.


Set the list of paths to look for cursors in. It changes both libwayland-cursor and libXcursor, so it affects both Wayland and X11 based clients. See xcursor (3).


This variable can be set for choosing an specific size of cursor. Affect Wayland and X11 clients. See xcursor (3).


If set, specifies the directory where to look for weston.ini.


The directory for Weston's socket and lock files. Wayland clients will automatically use this.


Bugs should be reported to the freedesktop.org bugzilla at https://bugs.freedesktop.org with product "Wayland" and component "weston".




Launch Weston with the DRM backend on a VT


Launch Weston with the DRM backend and XWayland support

weston --xwayland

Launch Weston (wayland-1) nested in another Weston instance (wayland-0)

WAYLAND_DISPLAY=wayland-0 weston -Swayland-1

From an X terminal, launch Weston with the x11 backend


See Also

weston-bindings(7), weston-debug(1), weston-drm(7), weston-rdp(7), weston.ini(5)

Referenced By

wayland-info(1), waypipe(1), weston-bindings(7), weston-drm(7), weston.ini(5), weston-rdp(7).

2019-03-23 Weston 11.0.1