Pulse Pounding

Yes, I knew this would happen. However, that does not diminish my frustration. Of all the desktop machines that I work with, I only use three to play audio frequently. These machines currently run Ubuntu Jaunty, Ubuntu Karmic and Fedora 11. For each setup I had the good intention of keeping PulseAudio after installation, but it failed on each installation for a separate reason:

  • On the machine running Karmic, vlc (the only player capable to properly play my AVCHD recordings) will drop frames like hell when running with PulseAudio.
  • The Jaunty machine is a rather powerful quad-core with a high-end sound card and just listening to music with totem I will actually get occasional buffer underruns (stuttering audio) when running a kernel compile.
  • On the Fedora machine I’d like to run mpd on start-up as a different user than the one logged in (who is forced to run PulseAudio) and this is not easily possible (or maybe not at all).

Even worse, it is becoming more and more painful to remove PulseAudio. You will loose ubuntu-desktop and gnome-bluetooth (also on Fedora). For Karmic I had to recompile gnome-session or else it will fully load one core trying to connect to PulseAudio. Gnome will no longer let you control the volume, neither from the panel nor via the keyboard.

So now we have shiny new features (that I never had a chance to use, because I always have to disable PulseAudio), but solid, reliable and easy sound output is history. Congratulations on breaking Linux Audio!


  1. OK, I have to admit it is easier to remove it from Fedora, but this will still leave you with a Gnome desktop that no longer provides volume controls via panel or keyboard.

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