Nov 18, 2009

PulseAudio and the sound problems on Ubuntu.

PulseAudio (PA) has its problems, sure. It's relatively new and does some very advanced stuff with audio you usually don't get anywhere else. So sure it has its bugs and problems. But still people tend to blame PA for a lot of stuff its just not responsible for. For example non-working Flash sound. Flash is (on my Ubuntu machine) the last part that still uses ALSA and not PulseAudio. So its the only application that makes problems. Also a lot of people blame PA for stuff that doesn't work with ALSA, like missing or bad drivers for their sound device. PA sits on top of ALSA so it can't do and know more than ALSA does. It even fixes a few known ALSA problems with some custom code.

Also noteworthy is that Ubuntu has a history of using PA wrong. This introduces a lot of problems with end-users. Even the newest version (9.10) has stuff wrong and missing. So how can anyone blame PA for problems if the (Ubuntu) setup is wrong from the start.

From a developers point of view PA is just great. Feature wise and from the way its structured. This is how a sound server should have looked from the start. Its just a thing done right and it will stay like that for a long time. Maybe thats the reason that all jumped so suddenly onto the PA train.

I still hope that Ubuntu gets its PA integration right next time. And yeah, blame the ones responsible for the problem and not something you think is responsible ...