Getting Started


Clone the repository if you haven’t already.

git clone

Inside the greenfield repository, we’ll use yarn to install all dependencies and build all packages.

Greenfield works best with node.js 20 or greater. You can easily install it using nvm.

Greenfield expects yarn 3 or greater.

Greenfield requires the following packages to be installed on your build system: autoconf libtool automake pipx ninja-build bison cmake build-essential gperf.

yarn install
yarn workspaces foreach --parallel --topological-dev \
--exclude @gfld/compositor-proxy \
--exclude @gfld/compositor-proxy-cli \
run build

The build excludes compositor-proxy packages as these only build on Linux environments. We’ll come back to this under the chapter Remote Applications.

After all packages have been build, we can spin up the Greenfield compositor shell.

yarn workspace @gfld/compositor-shell run start

Open a browser and point it at http://localhost:8080.

Unfortunately at this point we can’t run any applications because there are none available. Let’s fix that in the next steps.

Web Applications

Web applications in Greenfield can either be native Wayland applications compiled to WebAssembly or pure JavaScript applications. Greenfield provides a few examples that we can use.

  • examples/sdk shows the usage of the Greenfield WebAssembly SDK in porting existing native desktop applications to Greenfield (experimental).
  • examples/webapps has some ready-to-run examples.

We’ll begin simple with examples/webapps/simple-shm.

yarn workspace @gfld/example-webapp-simple-shm start

The Greenfield Compositor Shell maps the URL web:simple-shm to http://localhost:9001, which is the address of this example web app. Type this URL in the Greenfield address bar and some psychedelic circles should appear. To exit the application, press the esc key.

The Compositor Shell uses a reverse proxy config to map web:simple-shm to http://localhost:9001.

You might have noticed that web:simple-shm is not a normal looking URL as the hostname is missing. The reason for this is that Greenfield web apps can only run inside same-origin iframes because of features like SharedArrayBuffer. Greenfield thus fills in the hostname for you, so you don’t having to type out the same hostname each time.

As mentioned earlier, there are also WebAssembly examples available. So let’s build something more exciting.

Inside examples/sdk/weston


Building the WebAssembly examples require a working SDK. Head over to the SDK documentation to set it up.

If all went well, a new build/clients directory has appeared with a bunch of .html, .js and .wasm. Spin up a web server so these can be served.

yarn workspace @gfld/example-weston-clients preview

Enter any of these in the URL bar to see a WebAssembly desktop application.


Remote Applications

Only Linux remote applications are supported. If you don’t have a Linux machine, you can still run remote applications using a Docker image.

Greenfield can also run Linux applications remotely, both Wayland and X11. To do so, the remote machine must run a compositor proxy process that forwards all communication to the browser. We start by building the Compositor Proxy in a Linux environment.

yarn workspace @gfld/compositor-proxy build

Building the native code requires the following dependencies : libffi-dev libudev-dev libgbm-dev libdrm-dev libegl-dev libopengl-dev libgstreamer1.0-dev libgstreamer-plugins-base1.0-dev libgstreamer-plugins-bad1.0-dev libgraphene-1.0-dev.

There’s also a Docker build script if you’re unsure what dependencies you need.

The Compositor Proxy only provides a library to forward applications. We will also need an actual implementation that can manage application lifecycles, provide some form of auth etc. A basic implementation is provided by Compositor Proxy CLI.

yarn workspace @gfld/compositor-proxy-cli start

The Compositor Proxy works best with node.js 20 or greater. You can easily install it using nvm.

This will start the Compositor Proxy CLI locally on your machine with several applications pre-configured. The following URLs are available.


gtk4-demo, kwrite and xterm need to be installed separately.

Further reading about the individual components configuration and inner workings can be found on the design page.