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Darac Marjal 10-11-2012 01:41 PM

PulseAudio sound issues
On Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 10:21:54AM -0300, Alejandro Santos wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm using Debian "Wheezy" Testing on both my desktop computer and my
> Laptop. On the Laptop the sound works fine, but on the desktop I can't
> play two or more sounds at the same time, for example while watching a
> video on VLC, hitting pause, then opening a video on YouTube.
> Other problem is: after watching a video on VLC and closing VLC, I
> have to wait 20 seconds to open a new VLC program since otherwise the
> sound coming out of the speakers will be garbage.

Is your VLC configured to use Pulseaudio? You'll get best results with
Pulseaudio using an all-or-nothing approach.

> Since after killing the PulseAudio daemon with pulseaudio -k the
> problems goes away, it is my strong opinion that this is a PulseAudio
> issue.
> My workaround so far was to remove the execution permissions on
> PulseAdio with: chmod a-x /usr/bin/pulseaudio
> I have two questions:
> 1. How can I debug this problem? I'd like to file an appropiate bug on
> the corresponding bug tracker.

Probably your first action is to determine which package is at fault.
Try playing a sound with "paplay" and then playing it again within 20
seconds. If you hear garbage the second time, then it's probably a
pulseaudio problem. If you don't hear problems, then it probably IS a
VLC issue.

> 2. I can't purge the package with "aptitude purge pulseaudio" since
> the package "pulseaudio" is a dependency on "gnome-core". After
> killing PulseAudio, the sound works fine. I'm a software developer
> myself, and I can't help keep asking myself, why is PulseAudio an
> strong dependency on Gnome? What advantages does PulseAudio gives me
> as a user over good ol' ALSA?

Due to various differences of opinion "gnome-core" isn't as minimal as
its title might have you believe. If you need Gnome without pulseaudio,
try removing the gnome-core package, but add everything it depends on.

In answer to your other question, though, Pulseaudio is a networked
sound server. It has a lot more capability than ALSA does such as the
ability to stream audio over a network, the ability to (fairly) easily
manage multiple sources AND sinks (that is, you can replicate 4.0
surround sound using two sound cards, or even two computers). See the
wikipedia article for a nice intro:

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