[pulseaudio-discuss] padevchooser improvements

Michael Gratton mike at vee.net
Tue Nov 11 16:45:58 PST 2008

Hey Colin,

On Mon, 2008-11-10 at 10:43 +0000, Colin Guthrie wrote: 
> Do you know about tunnels?

Nope! First I've heard of them. I don't follow PA development, so if
there's no GUI for it and it wasn't announced on, say, Planet Gnome,
then I probably missed it.

> Rather than use padevchooser to output the sound to a different
> device, I'd personally use a tunnel rather than setting the system
> wide defaults. I can then use pavucontrol to move the streams between
> my local and remote devices at will. It's not overly easy to set the
> default for *everything* this way tho', but it does have other
> advantages.

That sounds good, but its not my use-case:

At work, I want to redirect /all/ audio on my notebook to my workstation
(where I have headphones plugged in) since I don't want my notebook
making random noises and annoying other people throughout the day, but I
still want to hear the audio myself (especially when playing tunes).

> Pulseaudio has automatic support for adding tunnels to network devices
> via the module-zeroconf-discover which will load module-tunnel-sink
> when it finds a pulseaudio server on the network. You can enable
> zeroconf discovery with a few options in paprefs

Yes, I've enabled that on both machines but it has never automatically
connected the two together. Looking at the manager now I can see the
tunnels and pavucontrol seems to displaying an extra set of sinks I can
move a playback stream to, but they are completely ambiguous; I don't
know which one to choose and it's not clear on the Output Devices tab,

Further problems with pavucontrol are: You can only move streams that
already exist, redirecting an application's streams isn't sticky,
finding the application you want to move is annoying when you have many
applications using sound and to choose a different default source/sink,
you need to run pavucontrol, switch to the right tab and use pull down
menu, making it impossible to see and set at a glance. That and the
number and the ambiguity of the source/sink names are the real killers.

> > This is what I'd propose:
> > 
> > 1. Make padevchooser revert to the local machine when avahai
> > reports the currently selected network server/source/sink has
> > disappeared - this fixes the last problem above
> With tunnels this happens automatically (and for running streams) via 
> the help of module-rescue-streams

If you're using tunnels then that is fine. Is module-rescue-streams
automatically enabled if you're using tunnels? Does it work if the
default sink goes away?

> A lot of what you describe here should really be handled in pulseaudio
> itself.

While the internals for moving/recovering streams can and should, I
don't think the user experience side of it can. What if there are
multiple machines advertising network sinks? What if you don't want to
automatically connect to an advertised sink? There needs to be some
manual way of moving some or all streams around, pavucontrol might be
fine for intermittent use by technical people, but it is not if you are
non-technical or need to use it every day.

> It's great that you're interested but I think you should not use 
> padevchooser as a starting point.

So what's the alternative? I'd love to have a notification icon that
shows up when network hosts appear, that lets me (easily) switch the
default sink to a different network host when available and ensures
fall-back to the local host when the other goes away.

Autoconnection would be nice but it needs to do the right thing in the
face of multiple available hosts and needs to be able to be manually

Should this be a new program since padevchooser is deprecated? Could it
be integrated into a cleaned-up version of pavucontrol?


⎊ Michael Gratton. "Mea navis aëricumbens anguillis abundat."
⎈ <http://web.vee.net/>
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