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Three recursive levels of nested Xephyr sessions, running on Linux Mint
Original author(s) Matthew Allum
Developer(s) freedesktop.org
Initial release January 1, 2007; 10 years ago (2007-01-01)
Stable release 1.19.1 (January 11, 2017; 39 days ago (2017-01-11)[1]) [±]
Written in C
Type Display server
License MIT License
Website freedesktop.org/.../Xephyr

Xephyr is a display server implementing the X11 display server protocol based on KDrive which targets a window on a host X Server as its framebuffer. It is written by Matthew Allum. Xephyr is an X-on-X implementation and runs on X.Org Server and supports Glamor.[2] Future versions could make use of libinput.[citation needed] Replacing Xephyr with the xf86-video-dummy and xf86-video-nested drivers in the normal X.Org server is being considered as part of X11R7.8.[3]


Unlike the similar Xnest, Xephyr supports modern X extensions (even if host server doesn't) such as composite, damage, randr, etc. It uses SHM images and shadow framebuffer updates to provide good performance. It also has a visual debugging mode for observing screen updates.


Xephyr cannot use another keyboard layout than PC102 (standard keyboard without left and right Windows keys and Menu key) or another keyboard mapping than US-english, since both are hard-coded into the program. See the source text of Xephyr and the accompanying documentation.

Xorg's version of Xephyr only supports software rendering for OpenGL, but Feng Haitao has developed a forked version of Xephyr which supports hardware-accelerated rendering if the underlying X server supports it.

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