Nikos Chantziaras realnc at arcor.de
Wed Aug 31 08:55:41 BST 2011

On 08/31/2011 09:15 AM, Eric Griffith wrote:
> The way that I understood it... PulseAudio came along because Alsa and
> OSS couldn't reliably handle multiple applications outputting sound at
> the sametime.

Nope.  ALSA handles multiple applications just fine.  OSS v3 (the one 
that was in the kernel) has been deprecated for a long time and is now 
removed from the kernel almost entirely.  OSS v4 can handle multiple 
apps just fine.

> Now; one little caveat that was mentioned on the Arch Wiki was that
> DMIX can have really bad sampling by default, but that it was an easy
> fix under .asoundrc via "  defaults.pcm.rate_converter
> "samplerate_best"  " The downside to this was it caused higher CPU
> Usage; which as the industry says, CPU Power is cheap.

This is an issue if you're on a Pentium 1 100MHz machine or something 
like that.  For anything that is not over 10 years old, the performance 
impact is virtually zero.

> Fedora, Ubuntu, Mageia, they all install PulseAudio by default...but
> really, is it necessary now that CPU's are more powerful and DMIX has
> its bugs worked out? It just seems like one more layer of overhead,
> one more layer of lost preformance because of abstraction, and one
> more layer where something can go wrong.

PulseAudio provides per-application volume levels in the mixer which 
ALSA doesn't (OSS v4 does, but it's not a popular software since it 
doesn't support as many sound cards as ALSA).  So PA solves that.  It 
also provides easy support for Bluetooth sound devices and networking.

I don't use PA because I don't need networking for audio and don't have 
any Bluetooth devices, and per-application mixer volumes are provides by 
OSSv4 (I use that).  But distros need to cover everything, so they went 
with PA.  It isn't a bad idea for having most stuff work "out of the 
box" and it's not really heavy on resources (again, unless you're on 
some hopelessly outdated hardware.)

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