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Re: From the top... how do I get sound working in F11 ?

On Thu, 30 Jul 2009 11:20:57 +0200
Michael Schwendt <mschwendt gmail com> wrote:

> On Sat, 25 Jul 2009 19:39:25 -0700, stan wrote:
> > I'm probably not the person to be defending pulse, because I leave it
> > installed but disabled.
> Is there a bullet-proof way to do that? Disabling PulseAudio is a FAQ for

Well, I *thought* there was, but yesterday I was using gnash to listen to sound samples on http://www.freesound.org and I noticed that pulseaudio was running.  Looks like I will have to log in and download the samples I want to listen to.  Better anyway because then there is no distortion from mp3. ;-)

> Fedora, openSUSE, and Ubuntu, too. The suggested "setting autospawn = no
> in /etc/pulse/client.conf" plus running "pulseaudio -k" plus "configuring
> audio players to use alsa drivers" doesn't work for all users. Last time I
> tried it myself, I got socket errors and no audio. I had to run "yum -y
> remove pulseaudio" as a work-around to actually remove several deps, too.

In addition to the steps you took, it is necessary to go into the directory /etc/alsa and (re)move the file
pulse-default.conf.  That file sets pulse to be the default alsa audio device, thus spawning it anytime some
application tries to use the alsa default device, even when the application is set to alsa.  That would explain your
errors if pulse isn't available.  Note that it is reinstalled anytime pulse is updated.

With this additional step, I find that I can use alsa for audio with pulse still installed.  I don't use system sounds as I find them an annoyance rather than an aid, so pulse isn't being spawned all the time.

However, I notice a trend that windowing interfaces are expecting to use pulse exclusively for any sound applications they include.  System sounds, gnash, etc. are designed without alsa access as an option.  So my fallback plan is to have two sound devices.  Use the onboard, not so great sound device for pulse.  Use my more sophisticated card strictly with alsa (leave pulse ignorant of it).  When I work with sound I want exclusive sound, sound configured explicitly, and having a dedicated device allows this.

My take is that pulse has its place for some people and situations, but it isn't for serious sound.  There it just introduces another layer to deal with, and doesn't provide any benefit.  It reminds me of an MS windows application, providing reasonable functionality without much effort, and some cool factor or whiz bang.  The equivalent of desktop effects, except for sound.  And there is a user base for that.  

I'm not sure if there aren't other ways of doing things, or if the developers just aren't creative, but linux seems to just copy MS windows in its development.  Pulse seems to be a part of this trend, so I'll have to learn to live with it.

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