I run Ubuntu 12.04. The default audio system in Ubuntu 12.04 is Pulse Audio. Everyone tells me Pulse Audio sucks. Beyond angry incoherent rants, no one offers any reason why it sucks. So here’s the deal, quoted from here:
[indent]A while ago Linux didn’t have ANY decent sound systems, so people started working on them. OSS came first, but there were license issues, so a group made ALSA. ALSA was unable to handle multiple applications (this was quite a while ago), so they made Pulse Audio. OSS was then ported (or something), so the licensing issues went away, but ALSA was staring to get a decent grip. Pulse Audio has some needed streaming/etc features (which few people actually use/can get working), so they made Jack for OSS (JACK works with ALSA as well) …[/indent]
So the problem isn’t really that Pulse Audio sucks. It’s that four competing systems came to be at around at the same time. If you dig deeper, you will find others (Gstreamer, FFADO, Xine, Phonon). All these sound systems all do pretty much the same thing; each one in a more confusing way than the previous.
If you go to each of these projects websites, they are all still in active development. For the new Linux user this extremely confusing. Nothing seems to die in Linux. Each sound system has their own cheer-leading squad (or hate mongerers). This is not information. This is propaganda and evangelism.
Fact is, in July 2012, all mainstream Linux distributions use Pulse Audio.
The Ubuntu I’m using (12.04 released 2 months ago) is using Pulse Audio version 1.1. In contrast, Pulse Audio released version 2 last month. So the Pulse Audio team are still working on this thing and it’s not going anywhere.
Fact is, in July 2012, Renoise supports ALSA and JACK.
So what does that mean for the vanilla Ubuntu user who doesn’t (yet) give a shit? Here’s a diagram explaining Pulse Audio:
Scroll to the bottom of that picture and look at the [Linux Kernel]. When using ALSA, Renoise communicates directly with that layer. In contrast, Ubuntu routes all sound through the [[Pulse Layers]].
This is a currently a problem for me. I don’t have Jack setup (yet). If I’m looking at a YouTube video in Chrome and I start Renoise, ALSA is blocked by Pulse Audio and Renoise complains, tries something, and fails.
GURU MEDITATION ALSA: If any sound is playing other than Renoise, in vanilla Ubuntu, Renoise will not work. You need to shut down all other apps that are making sounds, go into Renoise preferences and click ‘Reinitialize’ until it starts working again.
So my other option is clearly JACK. Great. I’m going to explore installing JACK. So far, all the advice given to me about JACK and Renoise sucked.
Here’s what doesn’t suck:
I had to find this on my own while ducking people spitting on me for mentioning Pulse Audio. I’m thinking the best approach, for me, is Option 4 in the first link.
More updates to come.