If you have not heard of Wayland until today, it is because Wayland has not had any public release of their display protocol. Wayland has been available at its Git repository for anyone to try it out, though finally, it will get the public release of its first version 1.0, after four years of development.
Wayland has been of special interest for many Linux enthusiasts, as it is a perfect replacement for the X Window System. The Wikipedia article on Wayland explains it in simpler language.
Wayland provides a method for compositing window managers to communicate directly with applications and to communicate directly with video and input hardware. Applications render graphics to their own buffers, and the window manager becomes the display server, compositing those buffers to form the on-screen display of application windows. This is a simpler and more efficient approach than using a compositing window manager with the X Window System.
Wayland will provide an excellent alternative for those who loath the X Window System. Fedora and Ubuntu are the two major Linux distros, which have always been interested in Wayland, and they will replace X with Wayland at the first chance. The Tizen project is also looking forward to using Wayland.
Kristian Høgsberg is the founder of Wayland, which is released under the MIT license. You can read this interview of Kristian Høgsberg for this coming FOSDEM. Wayland will be announced and released at this FOSDEM 2012, to be held in a few days.