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PipeWire aims to do for video what PulseAudio did for sound

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PipeWire is a new multimedia processing framework

An ambitious new project from GNOME is aiming to do for video what PulseAudio did for sound.

It’s called PipeWire and it aims to improve the handling of audio and video on Linux to such an extent that it become a ‘core building block for the future of Linux application development’.

PipeWire has been designed form the ground up to modernize the way video and audio processing is handled on Linux, with particular focus on supporting Wayland and Flatpak.

Trivia: During initial development PipeWire was called PulseVideo.

As app development moves to containerized, sandboxed formats like Flatpak and distros switch to Wayland there’s an increase need for newer, efficient and more secure ways of doing things that we’re all used to, like taking a screenshot or sharing our desktop remotely.

A modern capable multimedia framework is central to that.

“[PipeWire] aims to support the usecases currently handled by both PulseAudio and Jack and at the same time provide same level of powerful handling of Video input and output,” RedHat’s Christian Schaller explains in a blog post.

“It also introduces a security model that makes interacting with audio and video devices from containerized applications easy, with supporting Flatpak applications being the primary goal,” 

PipeWire = Possibilities

Some good news (for bloggers like me, anyhow) is that PipeWire will (amongst many other uses) provide a way to perform screen capture, including single frame screenshots and local desktop recording to video, and a foundation on which remoting protocols can be built.

Future plans may include adding ffmpeg-based decoders and demuxers to create playback pipelines. And as PipeWire will allow developers to create plugins, it’s not impossible that we might able to ‘cast’ our Wayland desktop to a nearby TV or monitor natively!

PipeWire Is Warming Up

It’s too early to know when or if other Linux distributions will add, merge or make use of PipeWire (one fully expects they will in time) so, for now at least, you can’t go grab it from Ubuntu Software or download an app that requires it.

But if you are keen to try PipeWire you’ll want to check out the Fedora Workstation 27 beta which includes it (albeit video only for now).

The shiny new PipeWire website has more information on the project, including links to get involved and guide on how to install it elsewhere.

Really exciting stuff!