State of Jack as a full pulsaudio replacement

Mike Holstein mikeh789 at
Sat May 5 02:47:25 UTC 2012

Go here Stephen
On May 4, 2012 10:44 PM, "stephen ankrum" <themartyrstephen at>

> please take my email themartyrstephen at off your list
> Thanks
> Stephen
> On Fri, May 4, 2012 at 4:30 PM, Luke Kuhn <lukekuhn at> wrote:
>>  All these bugs and "no sound output" complaints with Pulseaudio bring
>> back the idea of finding a way to make Jack replace Pulseaudio altogether.
>> Removing pulseaudio is not always enough, in many but not all cases a
>> replacement is needed. I remember the old days of Dapper and applications
>> grabbing the sound card and having to reboot just to get audacity to
>> connect to alsa, and as late as Hardy using sound cards that would only
>> connect to one program at a time. This while all those Windows clunkers
>> made that one program a sound server that seemed to work fine. We have  a
>> good sound server too, jack, and a good front end for it, qjackctl, which I
>> discovered in ubuntustudio hardy.
>>  My big desktops do fine with straight ALSA for my video
>> editing(kdenlive) , audio editing(audacity) and general uses. Their onboard
>> sound cards include mixer functions enough to play sound from multiple
>> sources with alsa by itself. This is apparently a hardware support
>> capability.  My intel Atom netbook, containing a copy of the same OS, is
>> another story entirely. No output from any mono soundtrack in alsa, as the
>> soundcard does not support a mono output at all. On the other hand,
>> pulseaudio is just too heavy for it, killing sync in video playback, even
>> for 360p h264 video.
>> I ended up using jack as a pulseaudio replacement in that netbook.
>> Anything other than flash or audacity, I fire up jack from qjackctl.
>> Using no sound server, only Flash, Xine, kdenlive and audacity can
>> connect to alsa directly on that sound card. With jack, all the video
>> players and audacious work fine, Mplayer and Audacious needing to be told
>> in preferences to use jack.   Using either jack for sound or straight
>> alsa(xine only) with a stereo soundtrack, that same netbook will only fall
>> 1 or 2 seconds behind the sound and sometimes keep up entirely on a 720p HD
>> video at 25 fps in H264 codec. A full 30fps still defeats it. This shows
>> that Jack is much lighter and more efficient code than pulseaudio. In fact,
>> it shows that Jack is imposing very little load on the CPU compared to no
>> sound server at all. I learned about Pulsaudio's resource use playing with
>> old Pentium 3's, when Lucid could not play video files that Jaunty played
>> just fine. Removing pulseaudio restored the playback sync.
>> Thanks to whoever put on onto using Volti to control volume with alsa
>> direct or via jack! That takes care of the "no volume control applet
>> without pulseaudio" issue and works in most DE's. You need the
>> classic-systray extension to put it where you can see it in gnome-shell,
>> comes up fine in both Icewm(traditional system tray) and in Unity if you
>> add it to the whitelist for systray applets.
>> Audacity works fine with Jack running, the only showstoppers for running
>> jack full-time by itself are kdenlive (no Jack support yet!) and that old
>> binary blob nasty, Adobe Flash. I am using 64 bit flash direct from Adobe,
>> I do  know if the "pulseaudio-extrasound" package aimed at making
>> Pulseaudio work would work with jack instead. With adobe deciding to throw
>> Firefox under the bus and push proprietary browsers, I have a feeling
>> open-source replacements for flash are about to hit the big time anyway.
>> Three ways of making Flash work with Jack  via alsa, gstreamer, or
>> pulseaudio,  plus a library for direct Jack support for Flash was being
>> described at
>> This page dates back to 2012. All these methods are said to create some
>> added latency in audio from Flash, opposite the audio ahead of video effect
>> that a too-heavy CPU load or slow graphics will create. Have yet to test
>> them, I control jack from qjackctl on the netbook-and rarely use Flash to
>> actually watch videos, as I download and keep anything worth watching
>> anyway due to limited bandwidth and a preference for local copies of
>> everything.
>> None of that matters on a big, high-powered A/V worstation, though a
>> direct jack/no pulseaudio solution might help with other kinds of latency
>> issues. What does matter is getting sound to work on a sound editing system
>> without forcing users to learn a lot of new programming that might send
>> them to another distro.
>> Having to start qjackctl or configure an application in its preferences
>> to use Jack is one thing, having to root around on Google for what text
>> file to exit, commands to run, etc is quite another.
>> With Precise now out, this question can again be considered for future
>> reference. Thankfully, in Linux distros nobody has to wait, if Pulseaudio
>> doesn't work for a user it can be removed and Ubuntu has been careful to
>> keep too much from depending on it.
>> Maybe a debian package that conflicts with pulseaudio, depends on jack
>> and qjackctl, pulls in one of the solutions for flash and anto-configures
>> other applications to use Jack by default would make this something an end
>> user could actually work with?  That would be something that could be used
>> as an advanced option at install or a recommended fix for situations where
>> Pulseaudio acts up.
>> --
>> Ubuntu-Studio-devel mailing list
>> Ubuntu-Studio-devel at
>> Modify settings or unsubscribe at:
> --
> Ubuntu-Studio-devel mailing list
> Ubuntu-Studio-devel at
> Modify settings or unsubscribe at:
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Ubuntu-Studio-devel mailing list