Pulseaudio dependency, if Debian can do it ...

rosea.grammostola rosea.grammostola at gmail.com
Sat Jun 25 10:21:04 UTC 2011


On 06/24/2011 07:08 PM, David Henningsson wrote:
> On 2011-06-24 13:26, rosea.grammostola wrote:
>> On 06/24/2011 01:08 PM, rosea.grammostola wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> A group of (professional) Linuxaudio users prefer to have a system
>>> without Pulseaudio. How nice Pulseaudio can be for 'consumer audio', it
>>> can be a pain on a professional audio system.
> Whenever you have such pains, please file a bug for it, preferrable with
> a very concrete example. While I might not have time to fix everything,
> I do want to work for making Pulseaudio less painful to use, in use
> cases including professional audio systems.

Ah I like constructive replies.

I should provide you a little background info maybe. Since years 
64Studio is the most known company when it comes to the delivering of 
(community) distros (and OEM products) optimized for multimedia and 
especially proaudio. First they based there (OEM) products on Debian. 
But because Ubuntu had those LTS releases, they switched to Ubuntu 
instead. They offered the community the 64studio distro, but also made 
products like Indamixx http://www.indamixx.com/

But because of problems with Ubuntu they got back to Debian recently, 
for building the OpenDAW distro, an optimized community distro for music 
production and sound engineering. One of the reasons for this recent 
change was the fact that you can't cleanly remove Pulseaudio from 
Ubuntu. Not only 64Studio suffers from this, but also more small 
projects like Tango Studio.

These issues didn't give Ubuntu also (a bit of) a bad name in the 
Linuxaudio.org community. It's often advised on the LAU mailinglist, not 
to use Ubuntu, but pick Fedora, Arch Linux or Debian instead, which 
could be avoided imo.

Now in some replies I read, we don't make Ubuntu for this group of 
users, so we don't care. That would be a strange attitude imho:

1) Fedora, OpenSuse and Debian etc. aren't building their distro 
especially for this group.
2) Why make it more troublesome for a group of users when it is not 
needed and other distros are showing it can be done without hurting the 
usability of the Desktop?
3) Shouldn't components in the Desktop be able to be removed as much as 
possible? Just as a matter of Unix / Linux principle or doing things right?
4) Maybe it's not your focus group of users and you don't care, but you 
probably don't have an idea about how many people in the Ubuntu 
community are working very hard to make Ubuntu good for music 
(home)recording, via bugreports, package building, PPAs, Ubuntu Studio, 
documentation etc.

>>> That's why some people
>>> prefer to stick with just ALSA and JACK. On most systems this is not a
>>> problem at all, like Fedora and even on Debian, but on Ubuntu it is.
>>> This raises the question why ubuntu-desktop has Pulseaudio integrated in
>>> such a way that almost the whole desktop system seems to depend on it.
>>> There isn't a good way to remove Pulseaudio from Ubuntu! This is very
>>> ugly and not a good way to handle things in the Linux world.
> As Daniel said, GNOME upstream has integrated Pulseaudio heavily. You
> might have more success trying another variant (e g xubuntu to see if
> removing Pulseaudio is easier there, or perhaps not even present, I
> don't remember).

Fedora uses GNOME, Arch Linux uses GNOME, OpenSuse uses GNOME, Debian 
uses GNOME etc, but it is still good possible to remove Pulseaudio. 
Apparently those developer teams are seeing an advantage of the ability 
to remove Pulseaudio. And I think, even if there was not a obvious 
reason why people should want that, that is a general good and clean way 
to handle things in the world of Linux Desktop.

>>> Why? If you can remove pulseaudio easily on Debian, why is it so
>>> freaking hard on Ubuntu? What is the best place to report this major
>>> bug?
> If you just want to stop Pulseaudio from running, that's simple:
> https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Audio/StopPulseaudio

Of course some found a way to stop or disable Pulseaudio and for some it 
even works, but it's far from ideal and far more difficult (especially 
for newbies) than on other distros and as it should be.

The guide you're pointing to starts with a warning for example:

"Stopping PulseAudio is not recommended unless you know what you're 
doing. For example, your volume control application might stop working, 
and you can probably only have output from one application at a time."

Professional audio engineers and distro builders for proaudio optimized 
distros don't want to have it installed and don't want to have it 
running on the background. They want to be able to remove it (and the 
ability on Linux to remove and customize parts is one of the reasons why 
Linux is superior to Windows for proaudio productions and engineering).

This is a section from FAQ of the website of JACK (system for handling 
real-time, low latency audio):

"The most experienced and demanding users of JACK do not attempt to link 
PulseAudio and JACK. Many of them will not run PulseAudio at all, having 
either never installed it, removed it from their systems, or disabled it."

To conclude:

The fact is that a group of users wants to be able to remove Pulseaudio. 
The question is why this is possible on other GNOME distros but not on 
Ubuntu? Is there a way to make this possible on Ubuntu also? Are you 
willing to make this possible?

Thanks in advance,

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