how is pulseaudio supposed to work?

Pekka Savola pekkas at
Thu Dec 13 18:54:22 UTC 2007


Fedora 8 was working fine until I reinstalled it (but keeping my home 
dir intact).  How sound doesn't work on many applications.  This is 
likely a pulseaudio issue.

Having looked at PulseAudio documentation, I haven't found out "the 
big picture", i.e., how it is supposed to work.  Should there be a 
daemon running or something?  Lot of docs also say "pulseaudio is now 
default" but I haven't found out where this can be configured i.e. 
where you can turn it off again [1] if you don't like it or check that 
everything is configured as required.

The error messages from non-working apps give a hint that a daemon 
should be running or that permissions are somehow off.

$ xmms *
*** PULSEAUDIO: Unable to connect: Connection refused

** WARNING **: alsa_setup(): Failed to open pcm device (default): 
Connection refused

$ mplayer *
*** PULSEAUDIO: Unable to connect: Connection refused
[AO_ALSA] Playback open error: Connection refused
Could not open/initialize audio device -> no sound.
Audio: no sound
Video: no video

The solution isn't as simple as starting pulseaudio, though:

$ pulseaudio
W: alsa-util.c: Cannot find mixer control "Master".
E: module-alsa-source.c: Error opening PCM device hw:0: No such file 
or directory
E: module.c: Failed to load  module "module-alsa-source" (argument: 
"device=hw:0 source_name=alsa_input.pci_1002_4383_alsa_capture_0"): 
initialization failed.

When you background the process and run xmms again, you get:

Message: alsa_setup(): Cannot set mmap'ed mode: Invalid argument. 
falling back to direct write

.. and xmms starts playing but there is no sound.  No error message on 
mplayer, but again there is no sound.

[1] this seems to give a lead though:

Pekka Savola                 "You each name yourselves king, yet the
Netcore Oy                    kingdom bleeds."
Systems. Networks. Security. -- George R.R. Martin: A Clash of Kings

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