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On Xorg I found that doing ALT + F2 and then doing r would work in order to restart gnome-shell after an update, however with Wayland on Ubuntu GNOME 17.04 and GNOME 3.24 I have found that I get a message saying:

Restart is not available on Wayland

Given that in 17.10 Wayland will become the new thing with GNOME, is this feature going to be supported in future through Wayland, or if not then, why?

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    If I'm not mistaken in a Wayland session GNOME shell works as the display server. So there will possibly be no non-destructive way to restart the shell. Just as in an Xorg session restarting X server kills all the open applications, in a Wayland session restarting GNOME shell will do the same. That's why that restart option is disabled.
    – pomsky
    Oct 11 '17 at 22:42
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    See this: bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=741665
    – pomsky
    Oct 11 '17 at 22:44
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    @pomsky Please post an answer based on that information. You are correct, in that gnome-shell is not separate from a wayland server, and so to restart it would be to log out, as it would kill the display server, unlike under Xorg where these are more separated.
    – dobey
    Oct 11 '17 at 23:04
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In an Xorg session one can restart GNOME shell without losing application state as applications are running against a separate server (X). But unlike Xorg in case of a Wayland session GNOME shell is not separate from the Wayland server.

So there isn't any way to restart GNOME shell in Wayland without losing application state as the display server also goes down. It's similar to restarting X server in an Xorg session.

That is the reason why this shell restart option is disabled in Wayland (recall that usually the key sequence to kill the X server is also disabled by default in the Xorg session) and there will probably never be any non-destructive way to restart GNOME shell in Wayland.

You may see this GNOME bug report for details.

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  • Now I just wish GNOME shell were as stable and bug-free as Xorg... Jan 18 at 9:36

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