Ubuntu 22.10 is dropping PulseAudio

Mike Turcotte-McCusker
May 23, 2022
Linux
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11

Ubuntu 22.10 is making a big change to the future of the Ubuntu Linux distribution line, by switching the audio server setup from PulseAudio to PipeWire.

The news was confirmed officially by Canonical Employee and Ubuntu Desktop Developer, Heather Ellsworth, on the Ubuntu Discourse thread about the topic,

That’s right, as of today the Kinetic iso (pending, not yet current since the changes were just made) has been updated to run only pipewire and not pulseaudio. So @copong, you can look forward to this for kinetic.

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For Jammy, you might notice that you have both pipewire and pulseaudio running. This is because pulseaudio is still being used for the audio but pipewire is being used for the video. (Pipewire is needed for screencasting and screensharing on Wayland.)

I hope that clears up our plans regarding pipewire/pulseaudio but let us know if you have more questions.

Ubuntu currently for 22.04LTS uses PipeWire for screencasting, but is still using PulseAudio for audio.

Image courtesy of Pipewire.orgImage courtesy of Pipewire.org

Other popular distributions that use PipeWire are Fedora, EndeavourOS and Slackware.

The PipeWire homepage says,

PipeWire is a project that aims to greatly improve handling of audio and video under Linux. It 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. PipeWire was designed with a powerful security model that makes interacting with audio and video devices from containerized applications easy, with supporting Flatpak applications being the primary goal. Alongside Wayland and Flatpak we expect PipeWire to provide a core building block for the future of Linux application development.

There are instructions for installing PipeWire directly on the front page of the site, which is always cool to see as it makes it very simple for users. As well, the PipeWire documentation seemed fairly thorough as I skimmed through it, so if you do want to dig deeper beyond the installation instructions, plenty of information is available at their docs page.

I can say that I have no personal experience that is of note with PipeWire. I have used and I adore EndeavourOS, but I am unsure if the last time I used it, it used PipeWire, and to what extent. So, I can not give a personal review at this time; however, I can say that after digging a bit deeper and researching into this topic more for this article, I think PipeWire does sound like the way forward, in comparison to PulseAudio. PulseAudio works…sort of…until it doesn’t…And it’s served us for years, but I don’t think I know many Linux users who would turn down switching to a different audio system if it meant more stability, less latency, and plenty of customization and power under the hood. I for one am looking forward to the next Ubuntu release, and I will be sure to test out and comment about the audio when I do a review of it in the fall of 2022!

NOW YOU

What are your thoughts on the switch of audio systems from PulseAudio to PipeWire? Do you have experience using it for audio in your own configuration? Let us know in the comments!

Summary
Ubuntu 22.10 is dropping PulseAudio
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Ubuntu 22.10 is dropping PulseAudio
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Mike discusses the upcoming 22.10 Ubuntu release and the change from PulseAudio to PipeWire.
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Comments

  1. Tachy said on May 23, 2022 at 7:42 am
    Reply

    I update my Raspberry Pi OS (Pi4) and they had changed to pulse audio.

    I could no longer get sound out of any web browsers :(

    I tried reflashing the SD card (several times) with the new Pi Imager they are pushing on raspberrypi.com and the poor little thing wouldn’t even finish booting to desktop.

    I grabbed the latest version of NOOBS and everything just works, plug and play ;) I don’t know if it came with ALSA or what and I don’t care, it all just works and I didn’t have to install anything extra to play Disney, Netflix, and VLC.

    Note: You can’t find NOOBS on raspberrypi.com even though they are the ones who host the file, you must go to github to get the download link.

    1. Hitomi said on May 23, 2022 at 9:30 am
      Reply

      The Pi imagers works great for me to create SSH headless setups with pubkey auth only. But it is a glorified config generator that puts SH files in /boot and it is good only at that.

      If you have a Pi 4 I’d recommend you Armbian anyways.

  2. alsa said on May 23, 2022 at 9:13 am
    Reply

    Alsa all the way folks. Always and forever.

    1. Hitomi said on May 23, 2022 at 10:02 am
      Reply

      Not if Poettering has his way to infect everything with Pulse and SystemD.

    2. Gerard said on May 23, 2022 at 1:04 pm
      Reply

      Yes, Alsa and nothing else. I never use PulseAudio and do not intend to use PipeWire in the future.

  3. alsa said on May 23, 2022 at 11:40 am
    Reply

    As long as pulse can be disabled its not an issue, systemd is also not an issue on non desktop installs.

    1. Hitomi said on May 23, 2022 at 6:12 pm
      Reply

      SystemD “resolved” is a cancer on servers. Especially if you wish to run recursive unbound yourself. It is nothing that cannot be mitigated, but at some point it might become harder as more software will start to depend on it.

  4. Meh said on May 23, 2022 at 3:58 pm
    Reply

    Yes, and LTS users will benefit from this in five years. Maybe. Let’s write about it then.

    1. Hitomi said on May 30, 2022 at 4:12 pm
      Reply

      Not the fault of Mike you fell for the wrong channel?

  5. piomiq said on May 23, 2022 at 4:04 pm
    Reply

    Sorry, but what is the reason. I found no words about this (in this text)?
    Didn’t search yet, but why Canonical decided to change so crucial part of system?

  6. lupder said on May 24, 2022 at 1:09 am
    Reply

    pulse audio was software for old sound devices integrated motherboards.

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