Audio issues: Pulseaudio HOWTO

Mark Greenwood fatgerman at
Thu Apr 30 20:31:31 UTC 2009

On Wednesday 29 Apr 2009 12:13:57 Myriam Schweingruber wrote:
> 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 :)

I agree that having Pulseaudio as an extra layer underneath Phonon is messy and makes the system cluttered, but to my mind it's Phonon that's the unnecessary layer. Pulseaudio is wonderful. It may well be a 'cluttered monster' but what matters first to me as a user is what I can make the thing do; a useless thing is still a useless thing no matter how well designed and immaculately implemented it is. 

I can use Pulseaudio to send my music to any room in my house, or to all rooms at once. I can use Pulseaudio to choose which set of speakers I want any particular application to play through at any particular moment (unlike the pretty vague categories Phonon provides). Does Phonon do networked audio and sink switching on the fly? Nope. In that case, for me it's just cruft and I'll have to add on the "cluttered monster" so that I can do what I need to do :)

I'm not here to argue that Pulseaudio is bug free. Far from it, although 0.9.10 has been running for 6 straight months on my mythtv box without a reboot. I think that *buntu made a mistake in switching away from 0.9.10 to the pretty much untried 0.9.14.

> Regards, Myriam.
> -- 
> Protect your freedom and join the Fellowship of FSFE:
> Please don't send me proprietary file formats,
> use ISO standard ODF instead (ISO/IEC 26300)

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