Run Ubuntu Frame in your Desktop Environment

This is how to run ubuntu-frame as an application window within your Linux desktop environment. For having Ubuntu Frame take over the whole display as you normally would for deployment, see the daemon configuration option in

Running on your desktop

When run on a desktop ubuntu-frame uses Mir’s X11 backend (and it appears as a “Mir on X” window).

There are two ways to do this, and they achieve slightly different things.

  1. Running as the current user; and,
  2. Running as root (but hosted on your desktop environment).

In both cases, you first need to install Ubuntu Frame

$ snap install ubuntu-frame

Running as the current user

This will allow you to test applications you intend to use with ubuntu-frame without first packaging them as a snap or dealing with the complications of running as daemons under snapcraft.

This is as easy as running:

$ WAYLAND_DISPLAY=wayland-99 ubuntu-frame

Or, if that doesn’t work (as has happened on some Nvidia enabled systems), run:

$ WAYLAND_DISPLAY=wayland-99 ubuntu-frame --platform-display-libs mir:x11 --platform-rendering-libs mir:x11

This will create a “Mir on X” window on your desktop and a (new) Wayland socket in $XDG_RUNTIME_DIR:

$ ls $XDG_RUNTIME_DIR/wayland*
/run/user/1000/wayland-0       /run/user/1000/wayland-99
/run/user/1000/wayland-0.lock  /run/user/1000/wayland-99.lock

This what happens on a Wayland based desktop (we suggest wayland-99 to avoid clashing with your desktop session’s wayland-0). On an Xorg based desktop you’ll only see the wayland-99* files.

You can connect any Wayland supporting application (for example, one you are developing) using the WAYLAND_DISPLAY environment variable:

$ WAYLAND_DISPLAY=wayland-99 gnome-system-monitor

You can supply also configuration options (see on the commandline. For example, for testing multiple displays:

$ WAYLAND_DISPLAY=wayland-99 ubuntu-frame --x11-output 800x600:800x600

Running as root

This will create a “Mir on X” window on your desktop and a Wayland socket that root processes (such as daemons) can connect to. This is useful for testing the snap packaging of applications you plan to use with ubuntu-frame.

Running as root is complicated as desktops should normally reject connections from other users (even root).
To get this to work reliably create a script that automates the necessary logic:

set -xe


sudo "${frame}" --help > /dev/null 2>&1 || true
sudo cp "${XAUTHORITY:-~/.Xauthority}" "/root/snap/${frame}/current/.Xauthority"
XAUTHORITY="/root/snap/${frame}/current/.Xauthority" exec sudo "${frame}"

When using this you will have to authorise sudo so please check you’re happy with the script before doing that.

Calling this script fake-frame and placing it a convenient location (such as ~/bin) means that you just have to type:

$ fake-frame

To use this you need to install and enable a suitable snap (possibly one you are working on):

$ snap install wpe-webkit-mir-kiosk
$ snap connect wpe-webkit-mir-kiosk:wayland
$ snap set wpe-webkit-mir-kiosk daemon=true
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