Pulseaudio Sucks!

Wed 07 April 2010

Either that, or Ubuntu hasn’t implemented it well either on Karmic or Lucid. Many people complain all over the Web about problems like the ones I’ve experienced:

  • Skips, skips, skips. Launch an apllication, skip; open a new page on the browser, skip; switch worskpaces, skip; do almost anything but stay still, skip.
  • Moving the balance control changed the volume, and made the balance jump to wherever it wanted.
  • The audio options in Skype were all Pulse Audio Server, which had me jump through hoops every time I wanted to set up an audio conference using my headset.
  • Volume and equalizer settings got lost after logout.
  • The equalizer worked or didn’t at its own discresion.
  • Etc.

The almost unanimous advice about how to solve to the above problems according to the Web is to get rid of Pulseaudioand make ALSA and ESound take over, so that’s what I did… not without problems, because Ubuntu has been embedding Pulseaudio into the desktop the hard way:

  • The volume control on the toolbar disappears, and System/Preferences/Sound stops working. To work around that I installed the GNome Alsa Mixer, and docked it to the toolbar. I haven’t been able (haven’t known how) to make the GNome Volume Control work again.
  • No more equalizer. To fix that I ditched the Rhythmbox Music Player that Ubuntu installs, and started using Banshee instead. That not only gave me an equalizer, but also inter-song gain control, and randomization that works, all with an interface very similar to that of Rhythmbox, and with all the goodies.
  • The sound is great.
  • Skype keeps the correct settings for teleconferencing between sessions.

I’m running the first beta of the Lucid Lynx now, but the issues were the same with Karmic. The feeling I get after having had to work hard to get my audio the way I wanted it is that having distributions couple to one specific option when there are many is very much agains the freedom to choose that has always characterized Linux.

Other articles

Update to Off XP and into Ubuntu

Wed 14 October 2009

I decided to install the Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) beta, and crashed the machine due to my impatience. After a reinstall of 9.04, the upgrade to 9.10 went well. It took only a few hours (a similar attempt with Windows would have taken days).

Now the update ...

Continue reading …

Off XP and into Ubuntu

Sun 11 October 2009

This weekend I managed to take care of the problems that have kept me from transitioning my main workstation from XP to Ubuntu.

The details follow.

OS Version

I downgraded to the 32-bit version of Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty). I found no advantages in running at 64bit, and plenty of ...

Continue reading …

Still on XP

Sun 19 July 2009

It’s been a while since I last wrote about my plan to migrate from Windows XP to Ubuntu Linux. The plan needed refining, and I needed the time to proceed with the migration. What follows is the transcript from my chalkboard with the current plan.

Repartitioning

The backups and ...

Continue reading …

Back to XP

Sat 02 May 2009

There are historical and circumnstantial reasons for my continuing to run Windows. My first personal computer run HP Basic, the second CP/M, the third MS/DOS, and after a short and unsuccessful stint with a Mac, my professional work started with MS Windows 2.0, and stayed on Windows ...

Continue reading …

Quién va arriba?

Tue 31 July 2007

Hace unas semanas compré un computador de escritorio con todos los hierros que el presupuesto predeterminado podía lograr: Pentium D a 3.0 GHz, 1 Gb de RAM, 160 Gb en disco, etc., más un monitor de 19” a 1990x1400.

Una de las razones por las cuales compre desktop es ...

Continue reading …

Setting up a CVS repository on Linux

Tue 05 September 2006


It takes more than you’d think to bootstrap a team

One might think that it is enough to create a directory under /var/lib/cvs to get a new CVS repository working for a project. My experience is that it takes much more to set up a CVS repository ...

Continue reading …