Linux on the desktop


From what I’ve seen from pipewire so far it doesn’t seem like it’s currently solving any of the issues that JACK solves (nor fixes the issues with JACK).
See for some discussion about it on the linux audio dev list.

Btw. JACK2 + pulseaudio using the pulseaudio module jackdbus-detect works fine here.
I use pulseaudio for normal day to day stuff and can easily switch to JACK when doing audio stuff. Pulseaudio gets informed over DBus, hands-over the audio-device to JACK and then gets presented to JACK as normal JACK client.


The FAQ on the Pipewire seems to make it sound like it is trying to do things just like JACK does them. Your linked discussion seems pretty laid back and open minded.

Naturally, the proof will be in the pudding… but Pipewire seems to have the big $$$ of RedHat behind it and I can see how a low latency AV middleware will help them sell support for embedded/appliances.



With the video part of PipeWire already in production we decided the time has come to try to accelerate the development of the audio bits. So PipeWire creator Wim Taymans, PulseAudio developer Arun Raghavan and myself decided to try to host a PipeWire hackfest this fall to bring together many of the core Linux audio developers to try to hash out a plan and a roadmap. So I am very happy to say that at the end of October we will have a gathering in Edinburgh to work on this and the critical people we where hoping to have there are coming. Filipe Coelho who is the current lead developer on Jack will be there alongside Arun Raghavan, Colin Guthrie and Tanu Kaskinen from PulseAudio, Bastien Nocera from the GNOME project and Jan Grulich from KDE will be there representing desktop integration and finally Nirbheek Chauhan, Nicolas Dufresne and George Kiagiadakis from the GStreamer project.


(There is definitely some hubris in that blog post title though, but it sounds like they are trying…)


I thought being “pro” was about knowing your tools and involved a life-long reading of manuals, docs, schematics, articles, theses etc… pertaining to one’s domain and possibly a few related others. But it also apparently involves having to cope with tons of useless stuff to be able to actually work (esp. when computers with any kind of generalist purpose are involved).

How much time for Pipewire to become a dependency of some random but needed application and to break systems working fine so far ? :smiley:


I saw PipeWire come up on the ALSA mailing list a while ago, my response is and was “oh no”. Like @ermina said, bracing for an inconvenient, workflow-disrupting addition of audio routing software built by developers focused on a consumer use-case. Hubris for sure.

This article from January:

Jack Support

Another important goal of PipeWire was to bring all Linux audio and video together, which means PipeWire needed to be as good or better replacement for Jack for the Pro-Audio usecase. This is a tough usecase to satisfy so while getting the video part has been the top development priority Wim has also worked on verifying that the design allows for the low latency and control needed for Pro-Audio. To do this Wim has implemented the Jack protocol on top of PipeWire.

Oh joy, audio sounds like such a priority. If you scroll down, Paul Davis defends the state of Linux audio when a reader jumps for the cliche “finally, audio in Linux!” tagline (ommitting any enthusiasm for PipeWire which I don’t think is a mistake).

Lastly I despise the name ‘PipeWire’ :sweat_smile: --camel-case spelling and all. It reminds me of something I would have come up with when I was a teenager just getting into this stuff for the first time.

EDIT: ugh plus api’s and code looks like a mess.


Curious what you would point out specifically about the pipewire APIs? The stream API seems fine to me, for example:


This is, of course, opinion. I should have probably omitted my api criticisms but here they are to haunt me for the duration of the internet’s existence.

The core api feels like it sacrifices compactness and succinctness for… short function names and generality. Simply annoying to use. I’d also prefer to define more of my own data structures and general functions like event loops. This is exactly why I don’t enjoy using C++, monolithic libraries like Qt and Boost that force you into an entire ecosystem of types and standard functions, separate from the language’s primitive constructs, that become necessary or things stop building.

I just feel like there’s no comparison.





Why is this a bad thing? We’re years ahead of Microsoft’s battle with open source. Seems like larger enterprises are more fully embracing its value.

And while I think diversity should be a priority, there’s no way chip fabrication facilities would exist to create such cost-effective products (that give birth to lovely end-user products like norns) without corporate capital.


Well, historically ‘embracing its value’ is just step 1,_extend,_and_extinguish


That’s a nice one-liner, but exactly how does that apply to Microsoft contributing 60000 patents to the Open Invention Network?


Sadly, I will not be doing Linux on the desktop with the new DAW. Arch on a MacBook mid 2012 appears to have significant display complexity due to proprietary drivers.

In macOS Ardour in Homebrew is broken on High Seirra. So I’m paying $45 to get a build. Seems like a better price than debugging X and Nvidia drivers.


It’s more that I don’t think IBM is a good fit, or at least modern IBM, which strikes me as being a consulting driven company.

Red Hat have funded a lot of work on the desktop technologies that we use (along with a lot of server stuff), e.g. Gnome, systemd (don’t start…), PulseAudio (ditto), etc. I just don’t see IBM caring about that stuff. RHEL has always been trendsetting even though it’s so conservative, if they announce that so-and-so software is going to be in the next RHEL release, we all take notice. I worry that with IBM, RHEL will just become another Oracle Linux.

I think I’d actually have been happier had Microsoft bought them! You have to wonder if they or someone else is now going to make a play for Canonical, as they’re the last big independent Linux company out there.

As an aside, while I don’t use Windows anymore, I did work as a C# developer for a long time. Microsoft are a very developer focused company, and I think that they will be good stewards for GitHub. Whatever you think of their methods in the past, they’ve always struck me as a company that believes in empowering people through technology, and in that regard there is a similarity to the open source community. Sadly there seem to be few organisations with that attitude any more.


Ardour’s ecommerce section for the paid version is…a bit oops. It was difficult for me to give money for an installer but I did it! Still took less time than building from source, though it would be cool to have a dedicated Linux desktop with Arch + Ardour and a nice HiDPI display, which is not a nice thing to do with the mid 2012 macbook pro.

It’d be cool to have a contemporary hardware list for a Linux DAW with a display system that could deliver the same expectations as less free platforms.


Thanks for supporting Ardour :slight_smile:
From what I can recall Linux on the Macbooks (Intel and PowerPC) has always been a bit finicky.

And for what it’s worth I’ve been using Linux for thirteen or fourteen years and it’s installed cleanly on every pc-based laptop/desktop I’ve owned (and only needed hardware lists for kernel driver reference). Once-upon-a-time I did have problems with Netgear’s old pci-based wg311v3 with its absence of native linux drivers though.

EDIT: I have a recently released Lenovo X1 Extreme coming Wednesday. This was released in September with a Coffee Lake i7-8850H so it’s a good candidate for ‘brand new thing, but does it run Linux?’. I’ll post a brief note on my exp here


Thanks, this looks really interesting.


I’ve become subjectively accustomed to the HiDPI also branded “Retina” displays that Apple (I speculate uses their patents) to sell. I don’t know what hardware isn’t locked up in the Fruit Company’s propriety and has a similar visual experience.


The 2015 (ie MacBookPro11,4) works fine as long as you avoid the nvidia graphics card. You have to custom config it, but can pick the fastest CPU and no dGPU.
I’m currently using that and it works fine, no issues. The newer ones aren’t really any faster, only some 6 core laptops are.

I use this custom config because the graphics switching stuff is a nightmare + a dGPU is only generating heat and wasting power + using nvidia on linux somewhat sucks because of a lacking open-source driver.
Unfortunately no other manufacturer currently offers a high-end CPU with just the built in GPU. The HP Zbook studio is the only one I know of that allows some CPUs without a dGPU, but not the high-end CPUs unfortunately. I don’t have good experiences with HP laptops though, so quiet reluctant to go that way.


This is one of the threads I’ve been looking for. Specifically, I have some Apple hardware that I read could easily run any Linux distro with a new kernel but the more I looked into the details the more I learned about how bad the Retina display would look with the mash of X drivers and utils required to make it work as the vendor intended.

So…what hardware should I get for a dedicated Linux (I’m fond of Arch) DAW running Ardour 5?

Linux at Last

Lol…discourse moved it automatically…


Finally got around to configuring my Lenovo X1 Extreme. It’s got the Intel 8850h coffee lake processor, Geforce 1050ti, a few newer chips for wifi,etc, and a Wacom usb touchscreen bundled with a 4k IPS panel. Other than the usual Gentoo Linux install hurdles my largest obstacles were:

  1. Installing a newer Linux kernel to support the new wifi chipset. Not really an obstacle, but it took a minute to find out that the Intel iwlwifi driver in the kernel doesn’t support the a370 version 10 device until 14.7.3 or so I opted for 4.18.9 and it’s smooth sailing.
  2. The new xorg-server (mine is 1.28.3) required me to use specify the virtual terminal (the default is vt7 and I get ‘permission denied’). I have a feeling most Linux distro’s probably have a graphical login manager to do this, but I now have to run startx -- vt1 now for my X session to work.
    Other than that, the touchscreen is working and my DWM/RXVT-Unicode configuration moved right in and I"m having a pretty good time on a newly released Lenovo laptop!