Arch Linux Temporarily Steps Back From WirePlumber After Snafu

Written by Michael Larabel in Arch Linux on 13 May 2022 at 05:14 AM EDT. 35 Comments
Earlier this week Arch Linux set the WirePlumber package to replace PipeWire-Media-Session. WirePlumber is the modern, feature-rich session manager for PipeWire and much better off than the reference PipeWire-Media-Session manager that is effectively unmaintained. But Arch Linux developers are now calling this premature and have reverted the change.

Arch Linux's existing configuration with PipeWire-Media-Session was that it would work fine for those just wanting PipeWire for screen recording while not taking over the audio roles with some still preferring PulseAudio or ALSA. But with the recent attempt to switch to WirePlumber, that modern session manager was unconditionally taking over audio responsibilities even if the user had configured their system to use PulseAudio or ALSA directly.

This Arch Linux change to push down WirePlumber ended up breaking audio support on systems using PulseAudio or bare ALSA. Thus Arch Linux developers have reverted the change while working to devise a plan to more gracefully switching to WirePlumber for PipeWire management without breaking existing workflows. Those with broken audio this week can run pacman -Syu pipewire-media-session to re-install the PipeWire-Media-Session.

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