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#1 2015-04-05 09:11:59

ronp63
New Member
Registered: 2015-04-05
Posts: 3

Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

Hi all,

Just posted an intro in the appropriate place, and would like to know if BunsenLabs will be using Pulse audio or Alsa/Jack?  My researches a year ago, led me to believe that in some cases Pulse was problematic and that Alsa/Jack was a better solution. Don't really know if this a true conclusion or not, but at the time I uninstalled Pulse and changed over to Alsa/Jack on my #! installation. Just curious what BunsenLabs is planning in this regard?

Kudos to all who are involved in the creation of BunsenLabs and am patiently (well sort of patiently) waiting for its release.

thanks,

Ron

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#2 2015-04-05 22:15:45

boromeus
#! Junkie
From: BG (SRB)
Registered: 2010-09-12
Posts: 313

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

fixme if I'm wrong, but I think some applications like Skype require that you have PulseAudio installed.

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#3 2015-04-05 23:20:06

tknomanzr
#! Die Hard
From: Heavener, OK
Registered: 2014-12-09
Posts: 777

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

^ Truth. You will eventually pull in PulseAudio whether you want it or not. OTOH, PulseAudio has improved tremendously.

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#4 2015-04-05 23:55:33

pingu
#! Junkie
Registered: 2014-12-05
Posts: 367

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

I'm pretty happy with no pulse audio (I could work around the few times that pulse would actually be needed...), and wouldn't like to have to remove it first thing after the installation process, which is usually a bit more annoying than  removing systemd imo...

Last edited by pingu (2015-04-06 03:15:36)


"We don't merge kernel code just because user space was written by a retarded monkey on crack."
Linus f****g Trovalds

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#5 2015-04-06 07:43:25

pvsage
Internal Affairs
From: North Carolina
Registered: 2009-10-18
Posts: 13,970

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

I'm in favor of bare ALSA in BunsenLabs Hydrogen.  As I've mentioned elsewhere, when I installed Jessie from DVD images, Pulse was installed automatically, and I didn't notice any problems with it on my current hardware, but I didn't spend much time playing audio/video with that installation either.

If Pulse or Jack is a dependency of anything (e.g. Skype, Ardour) it should be pulled in automatically when that application is installed. O:)  If it isn't, we can have a how-to dedicated to Pulse or Jack and that application.

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#6 2015-04-06 08:01:51

smacz
#! Junkie
Registered: 2014-12-09
Posts: 250

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

What would that look like as opposed to @johnraff's "Wally". Right now on my netinstall blueprint I have:

$> sudo apt-get install alsa-base alsa-utils lame pulseaudio pulseaudio-module-x11 xfce4-mixer xfce4-volumed volumeicon-alsa

# alternate install: pavucontrol
sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends volti

Would that mean anything more than just dropping `pulseaudio` and `pulseaudio-module-x11`?

Also the phrase "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is floating around my head, but I don't have any solid basis on which to back that statement up.

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#7 2015-04-06 08:44:40

pvsage
Internal Affairs
From: North Carolina
Registered: 2009-10-18
Posts: 13,970

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

^ You should be able to simply leave out the Pulseaudio packages.  If there are any problems, see if installing these packages fixes them:

alsa-tools alsa-tools-gui alsa-oss alsamixergui libalsaplayer0 gstreamer0.10-alsa

http://crunchbang.org/forums/viewtopic.php?id=23930
The gstreamer plugin in particular was essential to get things working on my system.

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#8 2015-04-06 10:37:52

woodape
#! CrunchBanger
From: Cape Town, South Africa
Registered: 2014-03-27
Posts: 113

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

I've found that Pulse does a lot of things better than Alsa, the biggest being Pulse's ability to split audio output from various applications to different channels. Also much easier to configure audio to output through HDMI. Also Skype requires it. Also, also, also...

I have headphones plugged in all the time as well as a TV with an HDMI cable. Pulse allows me to always have Skype conversations or Youtube videos to play through headphones, but everytime I play a video on VLC the audio goes through the TV. I remember trying to look for an Alsa-only workaround for this a while ago, but couldn't get anything to work, let alone something that is even close to as easy as opening pavucontrol and clicking a few times.

I know some people are against Pulse (there's a very long thread about it), but I haven't had an issue with it recently. If Pulse isn't in the default, it'll definitely be one of the first things I install. But considering that bl has been taking the view that it is best to make the user add things than remove things, maybe it should be put in bl-welcome as an optional install with the reminder that several popular programs (eg. Skype) depend on it, it provides a few useful functions lacking in Alsa (eg. channel splitting), but is somewhat controversial (...not sure why, does it have issues with certain hardware? Are the developers jerks?).

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#9 2015-04-06 10:45:01

pvsage
Internal Affairs
From: North Carolina
Registered: 2009-10-18
Posts: 13,970

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

^ Primary issue with Pulseaudio in Waldorf has been audio "crumpling" (a very specific type of flanging distortion that you'd recognize if you heard it) on several types of audio chips, including the lower-end Intel "HD Audio" that came with the Diamondville chipset on my Dell Inspiron Mini 9.  As for the developer, I have nothing against Lennart Poettering.

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#10 2015-04-06 12:11:55

ohnonot
...again
Registered: 2012-05-22
Posts: 2,205

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

^ pvsage, don't you know that by mentioning that name you just damned this thread to go to the dogs?

Last edited by ohnonot (2015-04-07 07:44:42)

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#11 2015-04-06 16:29:23

porkpiehat
#! Die Hard
Registered: 2012-10-02
Posts: 1,007

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

I don't agree with the statement " You will eventually pull in PulseAudio whether you want it or not." -- none of my Debian systems have pulse, and judging from the number of threads here that are "solved" by removing pulse, I don't think it is a good default option. Those who need pulse will get it, but most people do not need it. If pulse is installed by default, it will be one of the first things I remove. :-)

A how-to for installing something most people do not need makes more sense to me than a how-to for removing it.

Last edited by porkpiehat (2015-04-06 16:30:36)

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#12 2015-04-06 19:39:41

pvsage
Internal Affairs
From: North Carolina
Registered: 2009-10-18
Posts: 13,970

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

@ohnonot:  What name?  Dell? O:)  If you mention Pulseaudio, Lennart is automatically invoked; same with systemd and avahi.

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#13 2015-04-06 19:58:16

Head_on_a_Stick
CatMod
From: A world of pure imagination
Registered: 2014-01-21
Posts: 4,797

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

I just used Pulseaudio to "fix" the sound on a new Jessie system.

Installing PA automagically set up the sound then removing it (`aptitude purge`) left a pure ALSA system with working sound big_smile

FWIW I find Pulseaudio to be very good these days and I do think BunsenLabs should use it.

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#14 2015-04-07 08:09:03

ohnonot
...again
Registered: 2012-05-22
Posts: 2,205

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

^ I also heard that it's better these days, also not hogging resources. Who knows.
I have no opinion on this one really, if it only doesn't pull in gnomish stuff, or even worse.

TIL:

pvsage wrote:

If you mention Pulseaudio, Lennart is automatically invoked; same with systemd and avahi.

Last edited by ohnonot (2015-04-07 20:42:50)

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#15 2015-04-08 11:39:23

cloverskull
#! Junkie
Registered: 2013-10-26
Posts: 377

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

No issues with Pulse here. In fact, the only issue I've really run into is when I've tried to install certain programs requiring full jack functionality, which seems to break pulse. Other than that, things are good.

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#16 2015-04-08 19:08:26

nicholasalipaz
#! Member
Registered: 2015-02-05
Posts: 72

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

For me, I was not able to get audio and recording (internal mic) to work properly and consistently without installing pulseaudio.  I tried to avoid installing pulseaudio for about a week trying various fixes for alsa but never achieving working audio/recording consistently.  Eventually I looked at an old laptop that had the same sound card and saw #! had installed pulseaudio and I looked over the configuration files.  In the end I was able to determine that the amount of setup and configuration that pulseaudio was doing was more than I wanted to tackle.  As Head_on_a_Stick stated:

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:

Installing PA automagically set up the sound then removing it (`aptitude purge`) left a pure ALSA system with working sound big_smile

I bet that might work for me as well, but I have yet to try out of fear of hosing my sound yet again.

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#17 2015-04-08 19:35:32

pvsage
Internal Affairs
From: North Carolina
Registered: 2009-10-18
Posts: 13,970

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:

Installing PA automagically set up the sound then removing it (`aptitude purge`) left a pure ALSA system with working sound big_smile

It would be interesting to know what additional ALSA packages were pulled in as depends when you installed Pulseaudio.  Looking at its dependencies, I'd guess that libasound2 and libasound2-plugins were what got things working for ya.

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#18 2015-04-26 18:33:12

tynman
Member
From: Edmonton, Canada
Registered: 2015-04-26
Posts: 22

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

The question about pulseaudio is an interesting one. I was going to vote to leave it out, but I'm not so sure.

As far as I can see, pulseaudio typically actually works well for general purpose audio playback. But for those (like me) who are using our workstations to play music audio files through a sound card's digital outputs (SPDIF), pulseaudio adds no value, and can actually get in our way. I suppose I should  mention that being able to play (write) music files to a sound card unmolested was the main reason I started exploring the use of Linux in place of Windows (where it's hard to tell what's going on - the other reason is there is essentially no such thing as a lean and  fast Windows system).

Since one of pulseaudio's primary functions (as I understand it) is to provide mixing of audio signals from multiple audio-generating applications, it needs to re-sample all concurrent audio streams to a common sampling frequency. Windows has taught us to expect this behavior, although its usefulness is debatable -- for most other output devices, this either isn't allowed or we set up queues.

But for those who (1) don't need mixing and (2) just want your audio signals to go straight to the digital outputs on the sound card with no unnecessary processing, we end up either side-stepping pulseaudio or un-installing it. And we simply don't use the other mixers  -- unless and until we need to.

For a general-purpose, gui-windowed-desktop, lean-and-mean Linux distribution like BunsenLabs, I suppose pulseaudio does "fit" and maybe should be included. Although it's usually not difficult to sidestep pulseaudio, I prefer to just un-install it, but I find un-installing it a bit painful.

If we're building BunsenLabs for me, I'd say include alsa and jack, but leave pulseaudio out. But that's just me. (And apparently a few others smile. )

..Ben

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#19 2015-04-27 01:37:58

tknomanzr
#! Die Hard
From: Heavener, OK
Registered: 2014-12-09
Posts: 777

Re: Pulse or Alsa/Jack in BunsenLabs

Well if using Jack, pulseaudio is another unnecessary layer of abstraction that can make getting jack setups running more difficult. Pulling pulseaudio out in Waldorf/Wheezy was a bit painful as there were several programs installed in #! that depended on pulseaudio.

On this custom Jessie install, I installed pulseaudio, then changed my mind and removed it. It did not come up wanting to pull a dozen other files that had listed it as a dependency. I would consider the ability to choose to be progress. Alsa may be a little more difficult to setup but it does offer me flexibility. I am actually very happy that I can have pulse or not and not have to worry about if I want to remove it, it wants to pull open-jdk, for instance.

Last edited by tknomanzr (2015-04-27 01:38:24)

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