PulseAudio is still awesome.

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The post PulseAudio is still awesome. appeared first on The Grand Fallacy.

PulseAudio is an indispensable part of my Fedora Workstation. While PulseAudio may have detractors, my experience has been all good. Most sound problems I’ve seen come down to one of the following:

  • Bad drivers at a lower layer (not PulseAudio’s problem)
  • Bad hackery in the distro (ohai *buntu)
  • People parroting years-old Internet “wisdom” (does that happen?)

But in a well-integrated system, PulseAudio is awesome. That’s definitely the case with Fedora Workstation. That includes Fedora 22, which is what I’m using now.

Meetingpalooza

I’m attending a number of conference calls this week. Lots of them. The last two days have been eight hours of meetings. For example, today I’m at a Fedora Hubs workshop with fellow community members. I usually use my laptop to attend these conference calls. I use it with a USB headset attached. But having a headset on for that long is uncomfortable.

I also have a desktop computer in my office hooked to a big speaker set. So I use PulseAudio to route sound from my conference calls to those speakers. Now I don’t have to wear a headset to listen in.

I do this using the paprefs and pavucontrol utilities. I find these utilities very useful for more audio control. I can watch and move streams, all though an easy, comfortable GUI.

My home office setup, courtesy of PulseAudio.
My home office setup, courtesy of PulseAudio.

Thanks for the memory, PulseAudio

But that’s not all!

I was in the conference call, but there were updates available on the desktop computer. I decided to see what happened when I rebooted to get the updates. (Since my laptop was on the call, it wasn’t a problem.) I restarted the desktop, and the sound automatically moved back to the laptop speakers! That was cool — I didn’t lose any of the conference.

But it got better. After updates finished and the system restarted, I logged in. The sound automatically went back to the desktop speaker system! I was really impressed.

PulseAudio can track where audio streams are going, and send them back to the original devices when restarted. I love this feature! I remember the early days of Linux audio. It seemed like every single operation was hit-or-miss. I’m glad I don’t have to mess around with the system at that level anymore. I can just concentrate on my tasks, and things Just Work(tm).