Red Hat Launches PipeWire – A Replacement For PulseAudio, JACK And A Video Server

PipeWire is a new multimedia server for the Linux platform aiming to succeed PulseAudio and JACK sound servers as well as adding new video server functionality to the platform.

Sep 21, 2017News

After multiple years of development Red Hat has recently (September 19) began the process of landing PipeWire in Fedora Workstation 27.

PipeWire is a multimedia server, which started out aiming to become a central video infrastructure akin to what PulseAudio is to sound but later on changed its goal to encompass audio as well (PipeWire project was initially called PulseVideo).

According to Red Hat’s employee Christian Schaller it was necessary for the company to build a video server (which later on grew to be a multimedia server) due to the rising focus on “containerized Flatpaks“, considering the latter as a future standard of how packages would be shipped on Red Hat distributions, and Linux in general.

The decision to have PipeWire supporting both audio and video was made later on when working on the project, GStreamer co-creator Wim Taymans, concluded that in order to avoid syncing complexities it would be simply much better for PipeWire to unify both video and audio routing under one daemon.

Once the decision of supporting audio was made, Red Hat decided that this time, unlike with PulseAudio, an important goal they want to achieve is to also support the professional audio usecase (music industry for instance) which so far users of which have mostly resorted to using JACK, especially in cases when performance is of the essence. (more about PulseAudio and JACK)

In addition, another factor that influenced the development of PipeWire was the migration to Wayland display server which opened an opportunity for developing a new mechanism for screen capture, as the one implemented under Xorg was “very insecure”.

In essence, it seems, the main motive behind PipeWire is therefore security, or at least that is what Red Hat ultimately emphasizing.

Red Hat, inc. company, as the experienced Linux users among you may recall, was also the driving force behind PulseAudio and systemd technologies, both of which suffered a lot of criticism when initially launched.

Nevertheless says the company, learning from their past mistakes, this time they would try to roll out the project gradually, having the initial (current) release supporting video only while avoiding any risk of breaking your system audio as a result of the change.

Curios users may check out PipeWire here.