how is pulseaudio supposed to work?

Kelly Miller lightsolphoenix at
Thu Dec 13 19:05:45 UTC 2007

The problem you're getting is obviously that something else is claiming 
the hardware and preventing PulseAudio from taking it.  Are you running 
KDE?  If not, is ESound running in the background?

Yes, PulseAudio is a daemon.  It should be started when the desktop is 
loaded using the command pulseaudio -D

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