PipeWire  0.3.32
PipeWire Daemon

Configuration Files

On startup, the daemon reads a configuration file to configure itself. It executes a series of commands listed in the config file. The lookup order for configuration files are:

  • $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/pipewire/pipewire.conf (usually $HOME/.config/pipewire/pipewire.conf)
  • $sysconfdir/pipewire/pipewire.conf (usually /etc/pipewire/pipewire.conf)
  • $datadir/pipewire/pipewire.conf (usually /usr/share/pipewire/pipewire.conf)

The first configuration file found is loaded, the PipeWire daemon does not currently combine configuration files.

The environment variables PIPEWIRE_CONFIG_DIR, PIPEWIRE_CONFIG_PREFIX and PIPEWIRE_CONFIG_NAME can be used to specify an alternative config directory, subdirectory and filename, respectively.

Configuration File Format

PipeWire's configuration file format resembles JSON. Unlike true JSON, no trailing commas are required and comments starting with # are permitted as shown below.

The configuration file format is grouped into sections. A section is either a dictionary ({}) or an array ([]). Dictionary and array entries are separated by whitespace and may be simple value assignment, an array or a dictionary. For example:

# A dictionary section
context.properties = {
# Keys often have a dot notation
core.daemon = true
# An array section containing three dictionary objects
context.modules = [
# a dictionary object with one key assigned to a string
{ name = libpipewire-module-protocol-native }
{ name = libpipewire-module-profiler }
# a dictionary object with two keys, one assigned to a string
# the other one to an array of strings
{ name = libpipewire-module-portal
flags = [ ifexists nofail ]

Allowed configuration file sections are:

  • context.properties (dictionary): These properties configure the pipewire instance.
  • context.spa-libs (dictionary): Maps plugin features with globs to a spa library.
  • context.modules (array): Each entry in the array is a dictionary with the name of the module to load, including optional args and flags. Most modules support being loaded multiple times.
  • context.objects (array): Each entry in the array is a dictionary con‐ taining the factory to create an object from and optional extra argu‐ ments specific to that factory.
  • context.exec (array): Each entry in the array is dictionary containing the path of a program to execute on startup and optional args. This ar‐ ray usually contains an entry to start the session manager.


The PIPEWIRE_DEBUG environment variable can be used to enable more debugging. The format is:


  • <level> specifies the log level:
    • 0: no logging is enabled
    • 1: Error logging is enabled
    • 2: Warnings are enabled
    • 3: Informational messages are enabled
    • 4: Debug messages are enabled
    • 5: Trace messages are enabled. These messages can be logged from the realtime threads.
  • <category>: Specifies a string category to enable. Many categories can be separated by commas. Current categories are:
    • connection: to log connection messages

Error reporting

Functions return either NULL with errno set or a negative int error code when an error occurs. Error codes are used from the SPA plugin library on which PipeWire is built.

Some functions might return asynchronously. The error code for such functions is positive and SPA_RESULT_IS_ASYNC() will return true. SPA_RESULT_ASYNC_SEQ() can be used to get the unique sequence number associated with the async operation.

The object returning the async result code will have some way to signal the completion of the async operation (with, for example, a callback). The sequence number can be used to see which operation completed.

const char * name
Definition: media-session.c:2372