The thing that burns me the most is that the mixer is gone. alsa/hda-intel is still missing the piece that turns of the speakers when headphones are plugged in, so I need to do it manually. Now I can't (unless I use the curses alsamixer), not only that, I can do things like adjust input levels independently, turn on/off mic amp, etc, etc, etc.
I seriously don't care about independently adjusting volume for applications much less different alert sounds. The only thing to me that is nice about pulse is that I can easily move music or video streams to a network or bluetooth sink.
And yes, the change of the volume control from up/down to left/right seems incredibly stupid, especially since many cultures read from right to left instead of left to right.
The volume control properties applet itself looks like a UI hell as well.
I also loved the way the volume control appeared underneath and nicely aligned with the systray icon in Gnome. It was held up as an example of a little thing that was done right - in short: polish. So much for that I guess.
i don't like pulseaudio too. have been very happy with alsa directly. pulseaudio has issues with skype for me and volume control is a mess. unfortunately, packages in ubuntu are very dependent on pulseaudio. in fact, i cannot login into gnome without the script /usr/bin/pulse-session . so here's what it did to get rid of pulse. i uninstalled pulseaudio-esound-compat and installed esound and in the script /usr/bin/pulse-session, i commented out the line that starts pulseaudio .
GREAT, now I can't access the GNOME sound preferences. I click the button and nothing happens. I don't have PulseAudio (or ALSA) installed. I use OSS4. What happened to software freedom/choice? What happened to modularity?
Pulse Audio is useless.
It has its place, but most users don't need it and it shouldn't be installed by default in mainstream distros (nor should mainstream desktop environments depend on it). GNOME realized it needed to obsolete ESD, but it should have implemented a gstreamer-based (read: sound API agnostic) alternative instead of slapping a band-aid on with P.A. Similarly, if ALSA/dmix wasn't working properly, the correct solution would have been to fix it, instead of slapping another layer of garbage (P.A.) on top of it.
Not a very newsworthy story, but it's certainly a hot button topic.
The best way to avoid frustration with pulse audio and in general with our evolving open source software is to have more than one machine, virtual or physical. The idea is flexibility. You can adapt your computing habits to work around some of the issues and you don't get stuck with a system that has no sound.
When I moved to Linux, I built a new machine for that and used a KVM switch to connect the two, so I never lost the functionality of the old system. I've had lots of issues with the sound on my Linux system, but I just move whatever I'm doing to the other machine. I don't need another machine, but I'm using that as a carrot to learn virtual computing. Virtual computing is a similar idea, using multiple operating systems to crack the nut.
I think open source software has helped change the way we think of an operating system, from being the warden of the hardware that determines what you can do with your hardware, to being just software. If you like the idea of having a warden, try Windows, jail or just married.
I have no need for pulseaudio. ALSA works fine. The only thing I can see being worthwhile is controlling the volume level for applications independently. With Gentoo I have fully funtioning sound with "-pulseaudio" USE flag set. It's one of the advantages of Gentoo, not having to worry about what your distro came prepackaged with.
sorry but where is the UI love? the volume slider is horizontally aligned now, the button in that dialog looks weird and the balance-chooser (http://www.phoronix.net/image.php?id...me_sound_4_lrg) neither shows percentages nor has a button to set it to 0% which means that when you change the balance, it is very hard to bring it back to a normal state.