Pulse audio

Martin Olsson mnemo at minimum.se
Thu Oct 8 20:23:35 UTC 2009

Daniel Chen wrote:
> Just because ALSA has appeared to be
> sufficient in the past does not mean that it is, or even will be,
> sufficient. 

Saying that ALSA only "appeared to be sufficient" feels....

Sound was broken for me in all releases before hardy and then
in hardy it worked _perfectly_ with Skype, Flash etc. Sound
plackback _and_ recording. Then PulseAudio was introduced and
when I upgraded to intrepid alpha I lost audio. It was a test
release so I expected it, but it was still broken in final
which was sad. I read all the pro-PA arguments and I thought
okay so maybe maybe it's a good thing if we'll get better
sound for other cards or something (because mine sure worked
fine in ALSA). Maybe I didn't had advanced buffering, no
network streams and no powersave but honestly I didn't even
notice; ALSA did everything I ever wanted from it. Anyway,
then came jaunty and it was broken again. Now in karmic
alpha I got audio back but I got these extremely load sparks
and cracks which give me a really poor audio experience.
By now it's obvious that karmic as well with line up along
with the releases that did not reach back up to the level
where ALSA was for me. I honestly wonder, when will it stop?

The bug I filed after upgrading to karmic is here (alsa-info

I have a _lot_ of respect for the work that the Ubuntu audio
team (and Lennart) is doing but the TB decision to accept
PA into Ubuntu was a _BIG_ mistake. The appropriate action
would have been to talk some sense into upstream. If you
search for "crackling sound" in LP you quickly see that these
problems are not related to a few specific cards, it's tons
of people suffering through this:

I was very glad that Canonical posted a job listing for
"Desktop Architect – Sound Experience" recently, clearly
someone is noticing this and pulling the right strings.

Also, it's not just PA; we've also had the intel gfx driver
migration. That was not exactly a walk in the park either,
even though it was handled a lot more smoothly than PA.
In that case Ubuntu remained on a relatively stable version
while upstream was fixing PILES of bugs filed by testers
using xorg-edgers etc.

If intel had done it "the PA way", we would have had a BLACK
EMPTY SCREEN in not just 1 _stable_ release but 2 stable releases,
and then a flickering screen in the third _stable_ release.

I do definitely think following upstream is the only sensible
thing to do but not to follow them into an 18 month walk in the
valley of death without water.

Let's just not do that again, let's try to talk some sense
into upstream instead if similar disruptive chaos approaches.


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