November 27, 2023
It is with the utmost excitement that we witness the release of PipeWire 1.0, the first officially stable release of this noteworthy inter-process multimedia streaming framework after many years of development.
PipeWire has come a long way since it was conceived. In the beginning, it was all about sharing video streams between processes, a need that arised with the growth of Flatpak and Wayland. There were two main use cases: the first was sharing camera devices in Flatpak containers, and the second was getting access to screencast streams from a Wayland compositor. But why stop there?
As designed, PipeWire’s architecture had the potential of doing much more. Audio use cases, even though they were addressed by PulseAudio and JACK, did have issues and limitations. First of all, the fact that we had two different audio daemons to address different needs was not great. Neither was it the fact that we could not get those to work safely and reliably with Flatpak containers since they had not been designed for cross-container communication. PipeWire came to solve all these problems, and more, and it has done so with remarkable success.
PipeWire 1.0 now has all the features that are expected to move media streams inside a system. It takes advantage of advanced features of the Linux kernel to provide low latency, low footprint, and high performance while being secure. It is the perfect tool to build an embedded system or to securely share streams between containers.
At Collabora, we are deeply invested in the growth of the PipeWire project and its successful utilization in our customers’ products. For that reason, we have developed the WirePlumber “session manager”, a powerful orchestrator for PipeWire’s media pipelines, that can be easily scripted to customize how PipeWire behaves on different setups and usage scenarios. And like everything we do at Collabora, this is of course all open source, upstream (under the PipeWire umbrella), and is widely adopted now as the default session manager.
If you want to explore PipeWire further and see how it can help you address complex multimedia requirements in your product, now is a perfect time to do so. As always, Collabora is at your service should you have questions or need assistance in doing so.
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