When comparing Pantheon vs Wayland, the Slant community recommends Wayland for most people. In the question“What are the best window managers for Linux?” Wayland is ranked 23rd while Pantheon is ranked 24th. The most important reason people chose Wayland is:
Wayland has no drawing APIs. Instead, a Wayland client gets a DRM buffer handle, which is practically just a pointer to a graphics memory. Practically Wayland does not care how the client draws to that buffer, it only copies the client's buffers on the screen. The removes a lot of complexity (because Wayland just pushes the complex stuff to the other layers of the stack) and by making the clients responsible for all the rendering, they can be smarter on how they do things like double-buffering for example.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Simple, clean aesthetic
Nonintrusive and easy to overview workspace.
Pro Smooth, subtle animations
Nearly everything is animated, but it's not over the top.
Pantheon is light on system resources, giving it the advantage of being able run well on a multitude of setups.
Pro Splitting and animations
Switching between workspaces is fluid, pulling up the workspace preview bumps up the rest of the desktop, open windows show up on the switcher along with larger icons, and everything is subtly animated. You have two windows taking each half the screen by dragging to corners.
Pro Looks amazing
Looks absolutely amazing. Very nice to use. Amazing UX.
Pro Highly Modular
While built to be integrated, Pantheon is also highly modular. Shell components like the Panel, Dock, and app launcher can be swapped out with limited repercussions.
Pro Perfect for chromebook
It's light and easy.
Pro Slick, smooth desktop environment
Easy to use and easy to configure, there is almost nothing that the developers did not think of to creat a top-notch user experience.
Pro Easy to maintain
Wayland has no drawing APIs. Instead, a Wayland client gets a DRM buffer handle, which is practically just a pointer to a graphics memory. Practically Wayland does not care how the client draws to that buffer, it only copies the client's buffers on the screen.
The removes a lot of complexity (because Wayland just pushes the complex stuff to the other layers of the stack) and by making the clients responsible for all the rendering, they can be smarter on how they do things like double-buffering for example.
Pro Simplifies the graphic stack
Wayland simplifies the graphics stack by trying to force everything through a GEM/DRM stack and straight into the kernel. Furthermore, it manages compositing itself.
Con Few configuration options
It is pretty bare-bones on a stock install, but further configuration options can be added through various official tweak tools.
Con Too simple
Good for people who want a plug and play simple Desktop Environment. But for a multitasking / entertainment / cutting edge or Gaming Rig this is not the answer.
Con Not ideal for enterprise environments
As it has no set release date, and no set support and/or EOL dates, that makes it a not so good choice for enterprises managing a number of machines where such dates are important to know before hand.
Con Not available for major Linux distributions
Con Slow maintenance
Any significant updates come with new release, which usually takes 2-3 years. Hence gets obsolete with current software.
Con Looks and feels like a Mac
Which may turn quite a few people off with the aesthetics, of course for some people, this is a pro.
Con XWayland handles popup windows poorly
Con No mechanisms to configure input
Tools like xinput and xmodmap that help customize keyboard and mouse input are incompatible with Wayland, have no corollary, and there is no clear roadmap for providing their functionality.
Con Little driver support
Most closed sourced drivers do not support the KMS/shared-GEM/shared-DRM technologies on which Wayland works. While this may be okay for open source purists, who only want to use graphic cards that have open source drivers available, it may not sit well with people who spend a lot of money for high-end graphic cards only to get some crappy 3D performance.
Although it should be noted that NVIDIA has declared that they will start supporting Wayland, it may take years before Wayland fully supports most high-end drivers.