[pulseaudio-discuss] a simple way to disable pa

Sean McNamara smcnam at gmail.com
Sat Dec 20 00:19:27 PST 2008


On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 12:11 PM, H.S. <hs.samix at gmail.com> wrote:
> Sean McNamara wrote:
>> pulseaudio is a daemon. It's a single binary. If you rename the
>> binary, PulseAudio won't (can't!) run. Rather obvious now that I
>> mention it, isn't it?
>> sudo mv /usr/bin/pulseaudio /usr/bin/pulseaudio-not
>> To get it back:
>> sudo mv /usr/bin/pulseaudio-not /usr/bin/pulseaudio
>> (and reboot)
> I see. But why reboot? Isn't there an init script to restart pulse audio
> or something like this?

Yes, there is an init.d script for pulseaudio in Ubuntu; you can also
run `pulseaudio --daemonize=true`. I figured I would select the least
complicated way of indicating that the daemon needs to be started
again, considering the skill level implicit in the nature of your

>> Lacking PulseAudio, you probably won't be any more satisfied with the
>> performance/features of ALSA's dmix (or worse, a complete lack of
>> software mixing, if dmix is not enabled), but there are other venues
>> where you can seek ALSA support now that pulseaudio is disabled --
>> that's out of the scope of this ML :)
> As I mentioned earlier, I have set Gnome to use Alsa for all categories
> of sounds. I have also removed many pulseaudio packages. At present, all
> videos and audios appear to be working (I presume alsa is being used now).

I don't recall that such a simple fix causes an automatic fallback to
dmix; however, if you are able to get sound out of two applications
simultaneously, and pulseaudio is not running, then you're using dmix.
I'm not sure about the version of dmix in Hardy, but there have been
significant bugfixes to Dmix and the plug layer in ALSA, lately. Dmix
is sort of like "PulseAudio light" -- it provides the core
functionality of software mixing, but you're missing out on all the
other great features of PA. Of course, since Ubuntu doesn't take
advantage of most of PA's features to begin with, you probably won't
notice the difference until you hit an application that is
incompatible with Dmix due to the way it chooses its buffering

> In fact, on Ubuntu (Hardy and Intrepid) and on Debian (Testing and
> Unstable), I have Alsa working flawlessly. Installing Pulseaudio in
> Debian machines (my default OS) had some initial problems but now that
> is also working quite satisfactorily so far (haven't tried audacity
> yet). The only problem at present is with pulseaudio in Hardy.

Good luck with Audacity - that's one of the most stubborn applications
to get working on a system using either Dmix _or_ Pulseaudio.

>> The weakest link of Ubuntu 8.04 is their poor and premature
>> integration of PulseAudio -- and they're going to regret that for
>> _seven_ years :) But if you are interested in actually solving the
> That is what I realized, albeit a bit late. I have been recommending
> Ubuntu (Hardy mainly (for its long term support, aka stability), but
> Intrepid sometimes), but this pulseaudio business had created many problems.
> The users (novices, from Windows, grandma users, etc.) mainly do only a
> few things with their computers. One of them is watching video clips
> online (home videos, youtube and news clips from various websites are
> the most common). The flash based video was giving me a huge problem.

I think that's something to do with the version of libflashsupport in
Hardy. Anyway, most of the post-release versions of Ubuntu are so
frozen in their release policies that you'd have to uncover a CVE to
get any new code into the repos. I do recall having Flash video issues
on Hardy, but it's been a while now...

> Though I upgraded them from Gutsy to Hardy, Hardy pushed pulseaudio on
> to them. I now realize that Hardy + pulseaudio is such a mess (and
> pulseaudio is a must have since it is brought by ubuntu-desktop
> package). And to think it is a stable version!

There's no real consequence to removing the ubuntu-desktop package.
It's a meta-package. With a repository that's in active development,
by removing it you may miss out on something that gets added as a
dependency of ubuntu-desktop; but with Hardy, there are no
consequences to removing it after you have installed all of its
dependencies (i.e., the initial install from the CD). You can just
`sudo aptitude remove pulseaudio`, and if it wants to pull libpulse0,
ubuntu-desktop, etc. along with it, that's fine. The rest of your
desktop won't be affected, unless it for some reason tries to remove
all the hundreds of GNOME packages too.


> Regards and Thanks.
> --
> Please reply to this list only. I read this list on its corresponding
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> filtered to a folder in my mailbox and get periodically deleted without
> ever having been read.
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