Wayland in 2021

A year ago I wrote about my Wayland setup on Linux. This year I would like to give you a small update on how I am going with Wayland on Arch Linux and how it is my daily driver at home and work. The setup itself stayed pretty much the same:

  • Operating System: Arch Linux
  • Window Manager: Sway
  • Status bar: Heavily customized Barista bar
  • Screenshots: Bash script utilizing Grim + Slurp
  • Screen recordings: Bash script utilizing wf-recorder
  • Sharing Text: Bash script utilizing wl-clipboard
  • Dynamic Menu: bemenu
  • Password Management: A combination of gopass, bemenu and bash
  • Screensharing: xdg-desktop-portal-wlr + pipewire

You can find my full setup in my dotfiles repository on Github.

Let us have a quick look on the whole setup from above bullet point per bullet point.


My sway setup is not so special. I use mako for notifications, kanshi for dynamic display configuration and a few other scripts. The full sway config can be found here: https://github.com/shibumi/dotfiles/blob/master/.config/sway/config

Status bar

Barista is a Framework written in Go for writing i3-compatible status bars. The framework should cover most functionality you are looking for and if you want additional features you can easily execute scripts via this framework or extend it by pure Go code. However I would only suggest this framework for people who feel comfortable with Go. The configuration process can be tedious and I am still missing 1-2 features I would like to have. If you have everything you need Barista is definitely way faster than your usual status bar that just executes bash scripts. Here is a small snippet from my status bar that is showing the current Yubikey state:

	barista.Add(yubikey.New().Output(func(gpg bool, u2f bool) bar.Output {
		if u2f {
			out := outputs.Text("U2F")
			return out
		if gpg {
			out := outputs.Text("GPG")
			return out
		return nil

If you are interested in the full code you can find it here: https://github.com/shibumi/ryoukai/blob/master/main.go


For triggering screenshots I use this short script:

readonly SCREENSHOTDIR="$HOME/.cache/screenshot"

if [[ ! -e "$SCREENSHOTDIR" ]]; then
  mkdir -p "$SCREENSHOTDIR"
readonly TIME="$(date +%Y-%m-%d-%H-%M-%S)"
grim -g "$(slurp)" "$IMGPATH"
share "$IMGPATH"

The script just takes a screenshot via slurp and grim, puts the screenshot in a directory in my home directory and triggers my share-script. The share script just handles notifications and uploads it to my webserver via SSH and copies the link to it in my clipboard. The full share-script can be found here: https://github.com/shibumi/dotfiles/blob/master/.local/bin/share

Screen recordings

For screen recordings I have a script called videoshot-wl. It is a little bit more complicated than the script for taking screenshots. It makes use of slurp and wf-recorder and it works the following way:

  1. The script gets triggered and spawns a sub shell. This sub shell is recording the screen.
  2. If the scripts gets triggered again the sub shell will get killed, the recording proccess stopped and the recording uploaded to my webserver.

In bash this looks like this:

readonly VIDEOSHOTDIR="$HOME/.cache/videoshot"

if [[ ! -e $VIDEOSHOTDIR ]]; then
  mkdir -p "$VIDEOSHOTDIR"

readonly PIDPATH="$VIDEOSHOTDIR/videoshot.pid"
readonly RESOURCEPATH="$VIDEOSHOTDIR/videoshot.txt"

if [[ ! -f "$PIDPATH" ]]; then
  readonly TIME="$(date +%Y-%m-%d-%H-%M-%S)"
  readonly VIDPATH="$VIDEOSHOTDIR/rec-$TIME.mp4"
    wf-recorder -g "$(slurp)" -f "$VIDPATH" &
    echo "$!" >"$PIDPATH"
    notify-send "Start recording" "$VIDPATH"
    readonly PID="$(cat $PIDPATH)"
    wait "$PID"
    readonly VIDPATH="$(cat $RESOURCEPATH)"
    if [ ! -f "$VIDPATH" ]; then
      notify-send "Recording aborted"
      share "$VIDPATH"
    rm "$PIDPATH"
  ) &
  readonly PID="$(cat $PIDPATH)"
  kill -SIGINT "$PID"

The uploading process happens in my share script.

Sharing text

Sharing text is very simple again. For sharing text I just copy it in my clipboard (this happens already when marking something in my terminal) and then I use my textshot-wl script:

readonly TEXTSHOTDIR="$HOME/.cache/textshot/"

if [[ ! -e "$TEXTSHOTDIR" ]]; then
  mkdir -p "$TEXTSHOTDIR"
readonly TIME="$(date +%Y-%m-%d-%H-%M-%S)"
readonly TEXTPATH="$TEXTSHOTDIR/text-$TIME.txt"
wl-paste >"$TEXTPATH"
share "$TEXTPATH"

The script is just writing everything in my clipboard into a text file and uploads it. The webserver will then show the text file as it is. The disadvantage of this approach is clearly that I will have no additional features like comments or syntax highlighting (I miss this sometimes). If I really need those features I use gist

Dynamic menu

My dynamic menu for starting programs is just a customized execution of bemenu:

bemenu-run -i --hb "#151718" --tb "#151718" --nb "#151718" --hf "#9FCA56" --tf "#9FCA56" --fb "#151718" --fn "font pango:inconsolata 8" "$@" -m "$(swayfocused)" -p ">"

Password management

I have direct access to my password manager via bemenu and gopass. Via bemenu I choose the password entry (fuzzy search, yeah), then the script will trigger gopass and then the output of gopass will get copied for one-time use in my wayland clipboard:

source "${HOME}/.local/share/scripts/bemenu"

input=$(gopass list -f | _bemenu -p "gopass")
printf '%s' "$(gopass show -o "$input")" | wl-copy --paste-once

The interesting part here is the one-time usage. I can use this password in the clipboard only once. If I paste it, it will instantly get deleted from my clipboard. This also means that this currently only works in Wayland applications (one of the reasons why I use this script less than I should).

Small addition: I have a similar script for pasting OATH codes from my yubikey:

source "${HOME}/.local/share/scripts/bemenu"

input=$(ykman oath list | _bemenu -p "oath")
oath=$(ykman oath code -s "$input")
echo "$oath" | wl-copy --paste-once

Update (2021-03-14)

I always thought that wl-copy --paste-once does not work in the browser, because the browser was not Wayland-native. Turns out even with Wayland-native browsers you will encounter the same bug. This seem to be related to https://github.com/bugaevc/wl-clipboard/issues/107. I decided to fix this issue for me via using a timer and wl-copy --clear instead of wl-copy --paste-once:

The new script for triggering bemenu looks like this:

source "${HOME}/.local/share/scripts/bemenu"

input=$(gopass list -f | _bemenu -p "gopass")
printf '%s' "$(gopass show -o "$input")" | wl-copy
sleep 5
wl-copy --clear

Screen sharing

Screen sharing is a bigger topic. I really had a lot(!) issues with it over the last months, especially in combination with Microsoft Teams and other enterprise-ish software. Nevertheless I think I have found a stable solution for it a few days ago.

What you need is:

  • chromium or Firefox with WebRTC pipewire support (you need to enable this in chromium)
  • xdg-desktop-portal-wlr
  • pipewire + libpipewire02 + pipewire-media-session

First make sure that the pipewire-media-session service is enabled and running for your user. The devs of xdg-desktop-portal-wlr say that you normally do not need it, but for some strange reasons you will need the a running pipewire-media-session service:

$ systemctl enable --user pipewire-media-session.service

Furthermore you need to set the following environment variable: XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=sway. I do this via my .config/environment.d/envvars.conf-file:

_JAvA_OPTIONS="-Dawt.useSystemAAFontSettings=on -Dswing.aatext=true"
KUBECONFIG="$(find ~/.kube/configs/ -type f -exec printf '%s:' '{}' +)"

This file sets all of my environment variables and gets automatically loaded by systemd on login. If you have the environment variable and a working pipewire-media-session service everything else should work out of the box.

Update (2021-03-14T14:41)

Right now it is not possible to directly select the output for the screen sharing in the browser. You can work around this issue via this little script here:

source "${HOME}/.local/share/scripts/bemenu"

input=$(swaymsg -t get_outputs | jq -r '.[].name' | _bemenu)
/usr/lib/xdg-desktop-portal -r & /usr/lib/xdg-desktop-portal-wlr -r -o "$input" &

This script allows me to select the screen for screen sharing. I just have to remember that I need to trigger this script before sharing my screen. The preview window in the web browser will then show the correct screen preview. The disadvantage from this method is that you need to know your monitors name. If you find a better solution for this let me know.

Update (2021-03-14T15:11)

One user on Reddit suggested that I should use slurp instead of bemenu for the selection. And indeed this makes selection way easier, because you do not need to remember the monitor output name:

The update script is this two-liner here:


input=$(slurp -o -f "%o")
/usr/lib/xdg-desktop-portal -r & /usr/lib/xdg-desktop-portal-wlr -r -o "$input" &

Update (2021-04-21T22:46)

With xdg-desktop-portal-wlr version 0.3.0 it is necessary to import the user environment in your sway session. You can do this via adding the following line to your sway configuration:

exec "systemctl --user import-environment"

If xdg-desktop-portal-wlr does not work for some reason try checking the environment variables for the xdg-desktop-portal process. You need to have WAYLAND_DESKTOP and XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP variables in the environment of the xdg-desktop-portal process: cat /proc/$(pidof xdg-desktop-portal)/environ.

With version 0.3.0 xdg-desktop-portal-wlr is also being able to start a desktop chooser command. Just place the following configuration file in $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/xdg-desktop-portal-wlr/config:

chooser_cmd="slurp -f %o -o"

This will start up the chooser automatically and using my little helper script before is no longer necessary.

Update (2021-06-17T00:09)

The above xdg-desktop-portal-wlr version will not work, because xdg-desktop-portal-wlr changed their parser. If you are using this configuration and if you are wondering that it stopped working you need to change the chooser_cmd line to slurp -f %o -o without double quotes. The full configuration should look like this:

chooser_cmd=slurp -f %o -o


1512 Words

2021-03-13 18:21 +0000