Ubuntu 22.10 drops PulseAudio
Ubuntu 22.10 brings a big change to the future of the Ubuntu Linux distribution line, moving the audio server setup from PulseAudio to PipeWire.
The news was officially confirmed by Canonical employee and Ubuntu desktop developer Heather Ellsworth on the Ubuntu thread on the topic,
“That’s right, as of today the Kinetic iso (pending, not up to date yet since the changes have just been made) has been updated to work in pipewire only and not pulseaudio. So @copongyou can expect that for kinetic.
For Jammy you might notice that you have both pipewire and pulseaudio running. This is because pulseaudio is still used for audio but pipewire is used for video. (Pipewire is required for screen casting and screen sharing on Wayland.)
Hope this clarifies our plans regarding pipewire/pulseaudio but let us know if you have any further questions.”
Ubuntu currently for 22.04LTS uses PipeWire for screen casting, but still uses PulseAudio for audio.
Image courtesy of Pipewire.org
Fedora, EndeavourOS, and Slackware are other popular distros that use PipeWire.
The pipe wire home page said,
“PipeWire is a project that aims to significantly improve the handling of audio and video in Linux. It provides a low latency graphics processing engine on top of audio and video devices that can be used to support the use cases currently handled by pulseaudio and JACK. PipeWire was designed with a strong security model that makes it easy to interact with audio and video devices from containerized applications, with support for Flatpak applications being the primary focus. Alongside Wayland and Flatpak, we expect PipeWire to provide a building block for the future of Linux application development.”
There are instructions for installing PipeWire directly on the homepage of the site, which is always nice to see as it makes it very easy for users. Also, the PipeWire documentation seemed pretty comprehensive when I went through it, so if you want to dig deeper beyond the installation instructions, there’s plenty of information available on their documents page.
I can say that I have no notable personal experience with PipeWire. I’ve used and love EndeavourOS, but I don’t know if the last time I used it it used PipeWire, and to what extent. So, I can’t give a personal opinion at this time; However, I can say that after digging a little deeper and deeper into this topic for this article, I think PipeWire seems like the way to go, compared to PulseAudio. PulseAudio works…kinda…until it doesn’t…And it’s served us for years, but I don’t think I know many Linux users who would refuse to switch to a different sound system if it did. meant more stability, less latency, and lots of customization and power under the hood. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the next Ubuntu release, and will be sure to test and comment on the audio when I review it in the fall of 2022!
What are your thoughts on moving audio systems from PulseAudio to PipeWire? Do you have experience using it for audio in your own setup? Let us know in the comments!