David Revoy, professional artist, moves from Fedora KDE to Debian 12 citing "too many regressions"

In all these years, I have never seen the GNU/Linux distribution landscape regress so far away from our needs. It is almost impossible to find a distribution where you can professionally run and set up our most basic tools: Creative software, graphic pen tablet, color calibration. And I tested a wide range of GNU/Linux distributions to make this guide! The choice we have in 2024 is super limited.

I can no longer even recommend the distro I used on my previous guide, “Fedora KDE spin”, because of too many regressions. I tried to discuss it way ahead, but very few happened. I even felt kicked out of the Fedora ecosystem…

The post discusses the gaps in the modern Linux stack when it comes to meeting the needs of professional creatives. David Revoy is a professional artist who has been involved with Krita for many years (he’s created many guides, brush packs, participated in development discussions, etc.), and has been working on his webcomic, Pepper & Carrot, for over 10 years, licensed under CC-BY 4.0.

It’s partially a critique of the current state of the Fedora 40 KDE spin due to dropping the X11 session, but mostly a guide on how to setup Debian 12 so professional artists can do their work.

X11 isn’t perfect either when it comes to problems like color management, but it’s possible to layout professional art books for print with accurate colors: The English book printed project: production report 1 - David Revoy

Fedora Workstation retains the X11 session (at least until Fedora 41), but GNOME has reduced options for graphics tablets compared to KDE Plasma; hence the move to Debian 12 KDE.

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I installed openSUSE Tumbleweed earlier today and was surprised to see they default to Plasma 6 X11. Recent news and Fedora made it sound completely unsupported.

I ran into a taskbar not updating contents within 5 minutes on Wayland and switched to X11, without any issues for a few hours today.


I don’t like the reasons for pushing Wayland so-thoroughly when it for years, and still today has more issues than Xorg. It’s being pushed as a maintenance benefit primarily, and apparently less maintenance means more development time on newer projects, yet it’s still not up-to-par, so who is exactly benefiting, and what’s the ETA to when I might see it?

Except in possibly the most-niche conditions, Wayland sessions don’t offer a benefit to most people today, and haven’t for years (screen tearing can very likely be figured out with compositors, TearFree, and specific DDX drivers, which distros can actually include instead of just sticking to non-optimal modesetting no TearFree and leaving Wayland looking superior). An inferior option is being defaulted-to on mainstream distros, and that makes Debian look particularly interesting! Might be my next distro to seriously look at if openSUSE TW with Plasma ends up not working out :stuck_out_tongue:


I used to chase Windows beta releases, but I’m starting to just want my OS to work nowadays. I prefer rolling-release in order to keep moving forward at a consistent pace (no rushing to update every 6 months or keeping outdated out of laziness), but rushing towards less-ideal conditions because maintenance burden is making slower-with-updates (but still secure) and non-rushing distros like Debian look like a great option! Having choices with Linux is pretty nice :stuck_out_tongue:

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I am a bit confused about the Graphics Tablet / systemsettings changes from Plasma 5»6 vs XOrg»Wayland.

Does Plasma6 have all the needed Graphics tablet settings on XOrg? Or are they also removed there?


I also found the point interesting about small CLI fallback tools that work everywhere. This is currently missing, so if your DE does not support it, you dont get it.

Parallel effords everywhere!

Full disclaimer: I run Wayland-only and I have for a few years now. I’ve also used GNOME and KDE Plasma pretty recently so I feel like I have a handle on many of the issues, at least as they relate to me. And I’m pretty pro-Wayland.

David Revoy thought the same thing until a KDE Developer informed him the X11 session was still being maintained. It’s likely because the Fedora KDE SIG chose the major release of Plasma 6 as the time to drop the Wayland session. Fedora and RHEL 10 are the only distributions dropping X11 right now that I’m aware of.

That being said, the X11 session for KDE Plasma has been feature frozen since 2018, though have no formal intentions to drop it. GNOME 47 is likely to deprecate their X11 session officially if global shortcuts are worked out by then as it’s a blocker for users with screen readers and 48 will likely drop it from the code entirely. And we have COSMIC which is Wayland-only (so Pop!_OS will probably be Wayland-only next year) and Budgie which will be Wayland-only.

The people who maintain Fedora KDE. They don’t want to deal with X11 anymore and it lets them focus on making one session—Wayland—better for everyone. And sometime after that, us, because Wayland will get better due to the increased pressure and focus.

Personally, I enjoy being able to scale all my monitors properly and better security.

It depends on which specific feature you’re looking for. But in general these things don’t have an ETA.

Yes. David Revoy was initially confused about this because he thought Plasma 6 had removed Wayland support.

Here’s a full list of the missing features from the Wayland KCM as compared to the X11 KCM: Plasma/Wayland Known Significant Issues - KDE Community Wiki

An unfortunate consequence of the way Wayland is designed. Unless it’s a protocol compositors share (it’s not in this case), you’ll need to explicitly support every compositor. I’d actually like to know whether it’s even possible for a CLI program to configure these features without a portal (which does not, as I’m aware, exist).

I don’t think Sway even has a way to configure graphics tablets except with the normal monitor tools, though I could be wrong.

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My main issue is that my mouse feels different on Wayland, even with MUTTER_DEBUG_ENABLE_ATOMIC_KMS=0 and MUTTER_DEBUG_FORCE_KMS_MODE=simple. It’s a Corsair HARPOON RGB PRO at 1000Hz 800 DPI.

It has a more-connected feel on Windows and Xorg sessions, vs feeling slightly floaty or something on GNOME and Plasma 5 and 6 Wayland. It’s usable, but seeing past issues on GNOME on Wayland with high CPU/GPU load causing aggressive cursor hiccups has me less-than-confident about that floaty feel being proper. I’m a fully-against-cursor-acceleration 1:1 6/11 kind of person and don’t want any software interfering or causing additional latency between physical mouse movement and the cursor on my display if I can help it. I’m just recently starting to accept libinput over evdev :stuck_out_tongue:

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So I’m actually having this issue intermittently on my GNOME laptop (though not my GNOME desktop). Multiple times a day, inexplicably, my cursor will suddenly become floaty. And a few minutes later, it will be “more-connected” again.

I know exactly what you’re talking about and I agree but I have no idea what exactly the issue is or if it’s being worked on.

And what do you know, it is possible to write a CLI program that configures many graphics tablet features for a Wayland compositor. Specifically, GNOME. Meet gsetwacom, developed by the same person as libwacom.

Instead of relying on portals, it writes to GNOME’s gsettings backend. As it turns out, GNOME’s Wayland session supports as many graphics tablet features than KDE Plasma’s Wayland session (and a few more, like pressure curves, eraser curves, ring/strip keybindings; it basically knocks out every single item on this list aside from profiles, but you could script that easily; just have two different setups with gsetwacom mapped to a keyboard shortcut). But it doesn’t expose all of them (like shortcuts) in the GNOME Control Center application.

That’s not very handy! Oh well; gsetwacom to the rescue.

As a result, it only works on GNOME.

It’s a 300-line python script.