Is PipeWire the answer?

Heads up everyone: https://youtu.be/6Xgx7cRoS0M

Paul, I hope this team is engaging with you. Can you share any thoughts on this project?

Thanks!

They are not engaging with us/me. Given the apparent similarities to gstreamer I have notable doubts about their fundamental design (for example, I’m not convinced that they’ve understood the importance of using a pull model at the lowest layers). Don’t want to say more than that.

I think the Betteridge law of headlines applies here:


“Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

Slightly less sarcastically, is pipewire “the answer” to what question? I think audio on linux has settled down into an equilibrium that is workable, for Ardour you can use ALSA directly if you want. At least on Fedora I can just start jack with qjackctl and jack will take over the audio interface from Pulse, if I want other apps available I load the pulse-jack module, everything just works with no more effort than setting up my analog and MIDI connections.

The primary use of pipewire is remote access and screen sharing of Wayland sessions. They have a jack API but on a recent blog entry discussing pipewire progress someone (named Robin, maybe X42 Robin? not sure) asked about jack transport support, and also about why there was an extra period of latency compared to current jack implementations, got basically no response. No mention that I saw of jack MIDI support.
https://blogs.gnome.org/uraeus/2018/01/26/an-update-on-pipewire-the-multimedia-revolution-an-update/

So I think the eventual situation is likely to be that pipewire can take over some of the use cases currently served by jackd v1 and jackd v2, but will be a second class implementation, anyone using large setups like Fons or like 'Nando at CCRMA will still need the “good” jack implementation, smaller systems or systems that don’t care about a tiny bit of additional latency can use pipewire, but most of those users would just use the native ALSA backend. Just my prediction, I’ll add a disclaimer that I have traditionally been very bad at predicting the future, so discount that as you will.

update: they are engaging with me and the existing (pro-audio-oriented) linux development community. we’ll see what happens.

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This is good news paul!