Pulse audio

Martín Soto donsoto at gmail.com
Mon Oct 12 14:45:01 UTC 2009

2009/10/12 Lukas Hejtmanek <xhejtman at ics.muni.cz>

> not offending, just curious, what are the things you like on PA?

One positive experience here:

More than two years ago, I bought a Sony-Ericsson bluetooth headset. I have
tried it with every single Ubuntu release since then, only to end up deeply
frustrated every time: sometimes it was utterly impossible to make it run at
all, sometimes sound was transfered in only one direction, sometimes it
would work for a few minutes and then stop, requiring a reboot to work
again. And even when it worked, Skype didn't manage to handle it, and other
programs such as Ekiga would barely work.

This all changed in Karmic beta. I paired the headset using the new
functionality in the bluetooth apple, started the new beta version of Skype
and proceeded to have a three-hour call using the headset. No glitches at

This new smoothness can be attributed in no small part to PulseAudio. They
have done a very good job of collaborating with the Bluez (Linux Bluetooth
stack) project and apparently also with Skype to achieve this. The best part
is that PulseAudio recognizes automatically that Skype's streams are
voice-related, and routes them automatically to the headset. Before starting
Skype, I was listening to music through my stereo, and I didn't have to
configure anything for Skype to use the headset, it just happened. I also
think (but haven't tried it as yet) that if you detach the headset during a
call, PulseAudio will move the sound on the fly to other hardware (e.g.,
standard speakers and microphone).

So, all in all, PulseAudio has a huge potential for enhancing Ubuntu's
usability. Granted, some pieces seem to still be falling into place, but
it's definitely getting there.


M. S.
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