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Switch default from PulseAudio to PipeWire (and WirePlumber) for audio


I have been asked several times regarding when Debian will switch its default
sound server from PulseAudio to PipeWire without having an official answer.
Thus, I suppose it's the right time to start a discussion about that.

As you know, PipeWire is already installed by default with Bullseye (at least
with Wayland environments) for screen-sharing. PipeWire was not mature enough
to use it as default sound server for Bullseye, but since it gained in
stability, features and popularity. Several other major distributions
(Fedora, Ubuntu is doing the switch with 22.10) have switched to PipeWire
for audio [1-3].

We cannot talk about PipeWire without mentioning its session manager.
Thus, this change should go along the switch of the default session manager,
i.e. from the deprecated pipewire-media-session to WirePlumber.
We still use pipewire-media-session as default session manager because it
enables PipeWire *only* for screen-sharing and not for managing audio.
Whereas WirePlumber always configures PipeWire for audio excepted by modifying
conf files in a non-compatible packaging way. This issues was also hit on
the Arch Linux side [4]. This WirePlumber behavior may be solved in the next
major release 0.5 planned later this year.

BTW, I just uploaded latest PipeWire and WirePlumber in bullseyes-backports
(still in the NEW queue) to allow more users to test them.


[1] https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Changes/DefaultPipeWire
[2] https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Changes/WirePlumber
[3] https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ImpishIndri/ReleaseNotes
[4] https://archlinux.org/news/undone-replacement-of-pipewire-media-session-with-wireplumber/

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