Ubuntu 22.10 is dropping PulseAudio
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.
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.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!
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!Advertisement