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Anyone else annoyed by pulseaudio?

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libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04

Both Fedora (since F8) and Ubuntu (since 8.04) have implemented Pulseaudio as the default sound system. From what I've heard this is supposed to be an improvement because pulseaudio allows two sound sources to play at the same time even if the hardware audio chipset or audio card don't support this.

It is apparently some sort of a layer between the kernel's audio driver and the audio programs.

The thing is, in practice it has been nothing but an annoyance to me, a regression I might add, rather than an improvement. My sound chipset, which is onboard with the Intel chipset, apparently already supported the feature in question natively by using ALSA. Yet pulseaudio sometimes manages to not only break ALSA in that respect, but totally make sound unavailable altogether, depending on what program you use.

At best it is an unstable and buggy system, but in all honesty it seems quite unnecessary, in fact unworthy of inclusion. Even if your audio hardware didn't support playing multiple things at once, which I really have to doubt considering how advanced systems even onboard most motherboards are, it isn't like this feature is of such critical importance to bring in a new and half buggy solution to the table..

What do you think?

I for one have totally removed pulseaudio and am sticking to ALSA.

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Joined: 2006-03-28
The problem is, as far as I

The problem is, as far as I see it, that applications like to lock devices. Arts, the KDE Sound Server, for example really likes that, and won't let programs which don't use it, like Audacity, access the hardware.

In general I think that PulseAudio can be a step forward, when finally everything uses it. Jack is quite similar, as is Arts and ESound, but all of those are no definitive standard.

As far as I remember KDE4 has abandoned Arts, which I think is really good, as it may help a lot with different sound-applications.

Edit: I have just seen that in Fedora 9 there now also is a package to have PulseAudio-support in KDE. I think that's a really good step.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
I see, a potentially good

I see, a potentially good standard in the making that just needs to be adopted before it can provide for optimal stability and experience across a desktop system..

Hm that's kind of a chicken and egg situation, because I could argue that since it is not yet widely adopted it should not be bundled in what is supposed to be a super stable release of Ubuntu, but then if it's not included in popular distros it is less likely to be adopted.

Well it's not a big deal. If anyone else has problems with it I suppose it's safe to recommend removing it, since at least that's fairly easy to do. If ALSA isn't there installing it should on modern systems like Ubuntu/Fedora/openSuSE automatically configure it for sound to be available immediately and directly through ALSA.

Cheers

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Joined: 2006-03-28
I actually didn't have any

I actually didn't have any sound-issues I could bring into relation with PulseAudio on Fedora 8.
Just now I have installed Fedora 9 (after completely destroying my system and spending half the night on disaster-recovery) and will see if I run into any problems.
But actually I am quite confident that I won't.

As said, I had no problems with it in Fedora 8, or at least couldn't relate any problems to it. Neither on my PC nor on the notebook.

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Joined: 2007-08-07
I had no problems with

I had no problems with pulseaudio so far.
not something that can't be handled anyway.
for example I installed BMPx media player (great btw), and noticed some issues and skipping.. etc.
turned out that in BMPx's options, pulseaudio isn't the default (was ALSA IIRC), I changed that and it worked fine.
also I'm not taking advantage of pulseaudio, it's not making a difference for my system. and wasn't annoyed by it.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Hmm well maybe I am

Hmm well maybe I am overreacting a bit. I know that the first time I tried to use audacious it wouldn't make a sound until I fiddled with it's audio settings. IIRC, it worked with ALSA, but may have worked with pulseaudio after that again.. I am not really sure what happened in between.. There is also the issue that virtualbox doesn't appear to support pulseaudio very well, so whenever I had that selected as my sound system (in GNOME sound preferences), the sound in a guest OS (at least Windows XP which I used for IE website testing) couldn't work.

Also, even when I use ALSA, it occasionally crashes the whole sound system which makes me think that, as someone on IRC said, pulseaudio daemon doesn't actually quit when I switch to ALSA and may therefore interfere in some way that makes even ALSA unstable. This is when I completely removed pulseaudio since I just don't see much of a benefit yet it's too implied in creating troubles..

I guess it depends on what programs you use and how.. maybe even on a particular hardware and architecture. Mine is 64bit Ubuntu with Intel's HD audio (from ICH8 chipset).

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
GDM/KDM problem

I never got PulseAudio working in Fedora 8 so I got rid of it. Last night, I spent several hours getting PulseAudio to work without GDM or KDM. From some searching I found out that those do something with HAL to make PulseAudio work.

In /usr/share/PolicyKit/policy/org.freedesktop.hal.device-access.policy change the allow_inactive element under action#org.freedesktop.hal.device-access.sound to true. You might want to do the same for cameras as well while you are there.

I had to do this again when I updated KDE.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Thanks for the tip a_thing.

Thanks for the tip a_thing. I don't remember hitting that particular issue, but it could be useful to others. Smiling

Cheers

kman922002's picture
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Joined: 2007-10-10
Downgrade :O

Yeah, Pulse does the opposite of 'allowing more than one audio source' for me. Now its completely rendered my audio hardware useless. Why Canonical, why!?

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Joined: 2006-03-28
As I've been using Fedora 9

As I've been using Fedora 9 for a couple of days now I actually have to say that I have no problems with PulseAudio at all.
In the contrary. I can watch a movie, listen to a sound-file and watch Youtube at the same time, with Audio from all of them.

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Joined: 2008-06-14
Pulseaudio

I purchased a Dell 1525n with Ubuntu preinstalled. We (my more knowledgeable buddy and I) updated to 8.04 and I haven't heard a peep from web based video since. We unistalled and reinstalled every available player we could think of and toggle sound preferences from alsa to pulse to auto. Now when I try and play a video I get nothing except a prompt to install missing plug-ins. When I try to use this prompt it informs me the plug-in is already installed.
I am using Firefox 3.0 and downloaded the corresponding flash player. I have also tried the Adobe and Gnash players.

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
not PulseAudio's fault

I do not think this issue has any relation to PulseAudio if the same happens outputting directly to PulseAudio or through ALSA and other sound with PA works.

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Joined: 2006-03-28
If you have trouble with

If you have trouble with Flash and sound install libflashsupport, that will also enable Flash to use PulseAudio.

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