Audio issues: Pulseaudio HOWTO

Myriam Schweingruber myriam at
Wed Apr 29 11:13:57 UTC 2009

Hi Willy,

On Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 09:04, Willy Hamra <w.hamra1987 at> wrote:
> On 27/04/2009, Myriam Schweingruber <myriam at> wrote:
>> Hi marc,
>> On Sun, Apr 26, 2009 at 18:33, marc <gmane at> wrote:
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > If you have any audio problems, then I recommend following these
>> > instructions.
>> No, please do *not* follow that advice:
>> If you really read that post, you would have noticed the following, on
>> top of the post, written in bold red letters:
>> [quote]
>> Note 4: Kubuntu users: Don't follow this guide - PulseAudio isn't used
>> in your distribution.
>> [/quote]
>> What should be done is to remove Pulseaudio from Kubuntu, as no KDE
>> application is using it, and it causes far more problems than it
>> solves. For some mysterious reason it gets installed and causes
>> problems galore...

> now explain something to me. who manages sound on the system? is it
> the desktop environment? or the ubuntu base?

Definitely the Desktop Environment. It doubt it would be a good idea
to let the kernel handle this, which I suppose you mean with "the
ubuntu base"

> KDE4 doesn't use pulseaudio, what if i have GNOME installed as well?
> pulseaudio is still needed for GNOME to work properly i take it.

You will then have to configure phonon to use something else than
pulseaudio: just push pulseaudio to the bottom of the list in the
phonon tab, if you are lucky it will work...

> the other question is why doesn't KDE use pulseaudio? what does it
> use? phonon is a layer, why can't it use pulseaudio?

Phonon is a multimedia library that can use various daemons and
engines. Of course it can use Pulseaudio, but Pulsaudio is a very ugly
hack. KDE uses Phonon and this is a design decision of the KDE
multimedia developers taken for the following reasons:

Pulseaudio was supposed to replace the old aRts sound
server/mixer/daemon/etc. The idea was good, the implementation not so,
and instead of having a clean sound mixing daemon working flawlessly,
we are back in the same problems we had with aRts previously: a overly
cluttered monster full of bugs and badly designed. There is a German
word which describes it very good: "eierlegende Wollmilchsau".

Ask the KDE developers for their opinion about the subject, you will
get far less polite answers about Pulseaudio from them than from me...
one of these multimedia devs is sitting right across the table :)

Regards, Myriam.
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