GStreamer tries to integrate closely with operating systems (such as Linux and UNIX-like operating systems, OS X or Windows) and desktop environments (such as GNOME or KDE). In this chapter, we'll mention some specific techniques to integrate your application with your operating system or desktop environment of choice.

Linux and UNIX-like operating systems

GStreamer provides a basic set of elements that are useful when integrating with Linux or a UNIX-like operating system.

  • For audio input and output, GStreamer provides input and output elements for several audio subsystems. Amongst others, GStreamer includes elements for ALSA (alsasrc, alsasink), OSS (osssrc, osssink) Pulesaudio (pulsesrc, pulsesink) and Sun audio (sunaudiosrc, sunaudiomixer, sunaudiosink).

  • For video input, GStreamer contains source elements for Video4linux2 (v4l2src, v4l2element, v4l2sink).

  • For video output, GStreamer provides elements for output to X-windows (ximagesink), Xv-windows (xvimagesink; for hardware-accelerated video), direct-framebuffer (dfbimagesink) and openGL image contexts (glsink).

GNOME desktop

GStreamer has been the media backend of the GNOME desktop since GNOME-2.2 onwards. Nowadays, a whole bunch of GNOME applications make use of GStreamer for media-processing, including (but not limited to) Rhythmbox, Videos and Sound Juicer.

Most of these GNOME applications make use of some specific techniques to integrate as closely as possible with the GNOME desktop:

  • GNOME uses Pulseaudio for audio, use the pulsesrc and pulsesink elements to have access to all the features.

  • GStreamer provides data input/output elements for use with the GIO VFS system. These elements are called “giosrc” and “giosink”. The deprecated GNOME-VFS system is supported too but shouldn't be used for any new applications.

KDE desktop

GStreamer has been proposed for inclusion in KDE-4.0. Currently, GStreamer is included as an optional component, and it's used by several KDE applications, including AmaroK, KMPlayer and Kaffeine.

Although not yet as complete as the GNOME integration bits, there are already some KDE integration specifics available. This list will probably grow as GStreamer starts to be used in KDE-4.0:

  • AmaroK contains a kiosrc element, which is a source element that integrates with the KDE VFS subsystem KIO.


GStreamer provides native video and audio output elements for OS X. It builds using the standard development tools for OS X.



Note: this section is out of date. GStreamer-1.0 has much better support for win32 than previous versions though and should usually compile and work out-of-the-box both using MSYS/MinGW or Microsoft compilers. The GStreamer web site and the mailing list archives are a good place to check the latest win32-related news.

GStreamer builds using Microsoft Visual C .NET 2003 and using Cygwin.

Building GStreamer under Win32

There are different makefiles that can be used to build GStreamer with the usual Microsoft compiling tools.

The Makefile is meant to be used with the GNU make program and the free version of the Microsoft compiler ( You also have to modify your system environment variables to use it from the command-line. You will also need a working Platform SDK for Windows that is available for free from Microsoft.

The projects/makefiles will generate automatically some source files needed to compile GStreamer. That requires that you have installed on your system some GNU tools and that they are available in your system PATH.

The GStreamer project depends on other libraries, namely :

  • GLib

  • libxml2

  • libintl

  • libiconv

Work is being done to provide pre-compiled GStreamer-1.0 libraries as a packages for win32. Check the GStreamer web site and check our mailing list for the latest developments in this respect.


GNU tools needed that you can find on

  • GNU flex (tested with 2.5.4)

  • GNU bison (tested with 1.35)


  • GNU make (tested with 3.80)

the generated files from the -auto makefiles will be available soon separately on the net for convenience (people who don't want to install GNU tools).

Installation on the system

FIXME: This section needs be updated for GStreamer-1.0.

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