Wayland is the default display server for Ubuntu 17.10 "on supported systems". But how can I tell if my platform is supported and I'm actually using Wayland?


6 Answers 6


Open the terminal and type in:


Check if it prints wayland.

  • This would be the best answer in my opinion, as it doesn't require installing or running another programme.
    – Tuhin
    Feb 25, 2021 at 20:49

You could install mesa-utils-extra and run es2gears_wayland If the app runs, you are running Wayland.

For a fun way to check whether a specific app is using Wayland or XWayland, run xeyes. The eyes will move if the cursor is over an X or XWayland window.

Or run this in a terminal:

env | grep -i wayland

If there is no output, you are not running Wayland.

  • 1
    i sadly can't install xeyes on 18.04 :(
    – Fuseteam
    Feb 21, 2020 at 11:10

Use that command in the Ubuntu terminal:


Look at the value returned. If on wayland it will return


ubuntu-wayland  #  Ubuntu 20.10  
  • 1
    cat /etc/X11/default-display-manager
    – jones0610
    Jun 28, 2017 at 1:45
  • 10
    This answer is not correct for Ubuntu 17.10. Oct 24, 2017 at 21:18
  • 5
    It now says "ubunu-xorg" for xorg and just "ubuntu" for wayland. Feb 19, 2018 at 12:12
  • 4
    @krumpelstiltskin: Running Xorg, getting 'ubuntu' here.
    – emk2203
    Feb 22, 2018 at 12:44
  • 4
    I got gnome and am running Wayland
    – code_monk
    Sep 20, 2019 at 21:39

Settings > About > Windowing System

On Ubuntu 21.04, you can also see it from the Settings GUI (Win key, type Settings, select. Executable name: gnome-control-center), which is nice.

The default is Wayland on that system, 21.04 appears to be the first release where it was the default: https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2021/01/ubuntu-21-04-will-use-wayland-by-default

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If I change to X11 as mentioned at: How do you switch from Wayland back to Xorg in Ubuntu 17.10? it says:

Windowing System: X11


As mentioned at: Ubuntu 21.04: how to enable Wayland? however, if Ubuntu detects that you don't have the hardware support, it fallbacks to X11 by default.

Also, the NVIDIA 460 driver doesn't support Wayland, and X11 becomes your only choice once you install it.

BTW, the 21.04 minimal ISO install (which has Wayland and no NVIDIA driver, which is proprietary and needs to be installed manually later) has a known bug that crashed my UI every other day: Ubuntu UI screen image freezes randomly during usage after fresh 21.04 install, suspecting Wayland or Nouveau making it unusable. The problem stopped when I installed the nvidia driver and used X11.


I don't know if this answer generalizes, but I found that running xrandr will show different monitor names if running wayland vs. not:

xrandr --listmonitors
# On Ubuntu: 0: +*eDP-1 4384/344x2466/193+3840+0  eDP-1

# On Ubuntu-wayland: 0: +XWAYLAND0 1920/340x1080/190+0+0  XWAYLAND0
  • This is the only one on this page that works from SSH.
    – eje211
    May 7 at 7:08

If you execute echo $WAYLAND_DISPLAY, a text (like wayland-0) will be printed only under Wayland.

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