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PipeWire, the next-generation of modern Linux audio and video appears to be coming along nicely and it appears it's ready for wider testing.

Writing in a blog post, Red Hat's Senior Manager for Desktop, Christian F.K. Schaller did a summary of a presentation done by another Red Hatter Wim Taymans. As a quick primer - PipeWire provides a low-latency, graph based processing engine on top of audio and video devices that can be used to support the use cases currently handled by both PulseAudio and JACK and it's made so it can work well with container systems like Flatpak too. PipeWire should also work directly with anything made for ALSA, PulseAudio and JACK - so you shouldn't see breakage with it.

So how is progess? Great by the sound of it. According to the write-up, it's at a stage where PulseAudio, Jack and ALSA backends should be properly usable and close to 100% complete. Which is why they're ready to ask for wider testing, to have a go at using it on your own Linux systems.

They've even written a standalone library that can be used with both PipeWire and PulseAudio to handle ALSA sound card profiles, devices, mixers and UCM (use case manager) used to configure some newer audio chips (like the Lenovo X1 Carbon) which then provides the correct info to audio applications like GNOME Control Center or PulseAudio Volume Control which also means devices names won't change.

All the work going into it sounds quite impressive, and their commitment to have things continue working with what's already in place is great.

More info in the blog post on testing. More info about PipeWire itself here.

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Tags: Open Source
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Linas 7 Sep
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Quoting: EhvisNot sure what "olden days" you're referring to, but it seems to me that the situation for default audio chipsets now is much worse than it was in soundcard days.
Somewhere after dedicated soundcards started losing popularity, and before proper software mixing.

My audio journey on Linux went something like this:
  • No sound at all.
  • Single stream, reload the driver when playing different bitrates, otherwise crackling sound.
  • No more crackling sound.
  • Software mixing in ESD, crackling sound is back.
  • Proper software mixing with dmix, as long as your asound.conf is configured properly.
  • Software mixing by default, no more asound.conf.
  • PulseAudio brings per-application volume settings, crashes a lot.
  • Most applications do not support PulseAudio. Need to configure ALSA over Pulse or Pulse over ALSA, or maybe both.
  • Time goes by.
  • PulseAudio works, no configuration needed.

I do realize that PulseAudio is not perfect. But holy crap have we come a long way.

Last edited by Linas on 8 September 2020 at 1:11 pm UTC
drmoth 7 Sep
Very very excited about Pipewire. In this aspect, we've been behind Mac and Windows for years now. Can't wait for it to roll out.
I have a feeling that as more outfits use Blender, increased development on audio/video systems for Linux itself may come as a byproduct.
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Quoting: tuubi
Quoting: slaapliedjeStill wish the Sailfish phones came to the US, and my N9 / N900 hadn't been killed off by Nokia. N900 is still my favorite phone I've ever owned.
For my current phone I went for the cheapest piece of hardware supported by Sailfish X I could find for sale locally (the Sony Xperia 10), and then bought the OS separately. The phone isn't great but it does the job, and Sailfish is the only mobile OS I can tolerate. Jolla doesn't produce hardware anymore, so Sailfish X is the way to go.

Anyway, this doesn't help you much seeing as the OS is only available in "EU, Norway, Switzerland" according to Jolla's site.
Yeah, otherwise I would be using it. Been tempted to install UBPorts on my Sony phone, but it sounds like it doesn't support the Z2 very well. Also waiting for my Librem phone..
elmapul 8 Sep
". PipeWire should also work directly with anything made for ALSA, PulseAudio and JACK - so you shouldn't see breakage with it."

yeah, i already saw this movie before.
axredneck 8 Sep
Looks like it works. Now i need something like pavucontrol for it.
bisbyx 8 Sep
It sounds like what I've been doing with JACK but better (I've just been using it as a mixing board). I haven't looked much at pipewire because for some reason when I see "and video" I assume it's going to somehow be wayland related (which I personally am not ready for)... but it sounds like it's more "and video CAPTURE" rather than video output. Now I kinda want to try this.
raneon 16 Sep
Quoting: raneonI'm testing it currently on Arch and it works well, but there are only dropin's for Jack and Pulseaudio to replace them, but not for Alsa yet (probably there is just no package in AUR).

Now Firefox, VLC and MPV stopped to play any videos with my pipewire video & audio setup. I had to remove all pipewire pulse, alsa and jack packages to get it working again. Don't know what was the root cause of this, the only thing I suspect was the recent gstreamer 1.16 to 1.18 update. For now I will wait until there is the pipewire-also dropin before I try it again.
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