how to disable pulseaudio

Sonal Santan sonal.santan at
Fri Dec 19 01:01:58 UTC 2008

I fully agree with you on the challenges these hacks impose for a new 
Ubuntu user. In my opinion PA is an over engineered and badly done 
package. Unfortunately just when all applications and vendors were 
standardizing on ALSA, PA introduced so much of confusion, breakage and 
sound quality issues. At least on Ubuntu, PA should have been an add-on 
and not the default.

Regarding your question of alsamixer with pulseaudio, just kill 
pulseaudio and every thing is good again :-)

H.S. wrote:
> Sonal Santan wrote:
>> Hello,
>> You can try the following two steps to /sideline/ pulse audio on 8.10
>> [1]
>> Open /etc/pulse/ in an editor. Look for lines similar to the 
>> following two commented out lines:
>> #load-module module-alsa-sink
>> #load-module module-alsa-source device=hw:1,0
>> Add the following two lines after these two lines:
>> load-module module-alsa-sink device=dmix
>> load-module module-alsa-source device=dsnoop
>> The above change will force PA to use dmix/dsnoop and not take exclusive 
>> control of sound hardware.
>> [2]
>> Open /usr/share/alsa/alsa.conf in an editor. Comment out the line which 
>> says /usr/share/alsa/pulse.conf by inserting a # in the beginning. After 
>> the change, the @hooks section would look something like the following.
>> @hooks [
>>     {
>>         func load
>>         files [
>> #           "/usr/share/alsa/pulse.conf"
>>             "/usr/share/alsa/bluetooth.conf"
>>             "/etc/asound.conf"
>>             "~/.asoundrc"
>>         ]
>>         errors false
>>     }
>> ]
>> This will prevent PA from presenting itself as default output/input for 
>> all sound applications. Hence the other applications can continue to use 
>> ALSA as if there is no PA.
>> The above two changes fix all PA nuisance and all my sound applications 
>> work fine. You will need to select ALSA as sound device in 
>> System->Preferences->Sound. With these changes PA is rendered useless 
>> but it continues to run though nobody would use it. It doesn't consume 
>> any system resources. I still do not know what needs to be changed so 
>> that PA is not even started.
>> Sonal
> Interesting. I will give this a shot. Though I note that doing the above
> stuff to pulseaudio would still require a user's intervention to change
> everything in Preferences->Sound to Alsa. I find this uncomfortable in
> the sense that Ubuntu is supposed to be user friendly. Just choosing
> "Default" should work when pulseaudio is deactivated. Again, all these
> kludges just make Ubuntu the same as Debian. Debian is my default OS but
> I always push Ubuntu for novice users who want to try Linux trumpeting
> its easy of use.
> BTW, when pulse audio is running, is alsamixer (the console level
> controls) supposed to work? In a laptop running Intrepid, it works, but
> on a computer running Hardy it doesn't. On the hardy machine, I get
> something like this:
> $> alsamixer
> *** PULSEAUDIO: Unable to connect: Connection refused
> alsamixer: function snd_ctl_open failed for default: Connection refused
> So how does alsamixer related to pulseaudio?
> Thanks.

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