[pulseaudio-discuss] My computer thinks I'm schizophrenic, is PA for me?

Jan Braun janbraun at gmx.de
Fri Apr 16 12:02:52 PDT 2010

Hi list,
and sorry for bringing up this topic again, but I'm another user who
has difficulties with PA's multi-user policy.

You see, currently I'm the only person with access to my desktop pc,
but I have several user accounts on it[1]. And I use them all.
Simultaneously. As in: several consoles open, often more than 1 xserver
running, xterms ssh'd to otheruser at localhost .

*** Now is your chance to say "that's insane, and we don't support it"

So, I want sound. For all of my accounts. Concurrently - I'm logged in
concurrently, and e.g. email/IM notifications need to work especially
when the email-account is not "active". And my xmms2d needs to run as
one (arbitrary, but fixed) user too, me switching between different
windows/consoles/xservers mustn't prevent it from playing continuously.

So, how does PA fit in here?
1) Currently, I run it in system mode. Only system mode has grown pretty
   scary warning signs. And you could reasonably break it altogether,
   say "we told you so", and I'd get to keep the pieces. Not my
   favourite prospect.
2) per-user-pulseaudio on top of dmix. "causes global warming", mixes
   sound twice, also not a nice solution.
3) per-user-pulseaudio, one with access to the hw, other users send to
   that one via network/localhost. Also mixes twice, and (almost)
   every sound data is pushed through lo. Unless PA recognzes lo and
   optimizes for that case? Also needs that one user to be logged in
   always (that's easily done, however).[2]
4) Your suggestion?
5) Ok, you get another chance to say "Jan, that usage scenario is insane"

I'm seriously trying to find the proper way to use PA, and would love to
be able to add accounts for other persons and have security against them
eavesdropping etc..  But my impression is PA is designed for multiple seats
per computer and for multiple persions per seat (i.e. fast user switching).
And it's not designed for multiple accounts per person.

So, do you think my scenario is valid?
Do you (plan to) support it?
Do you recommend one of the above solutions over the others?

thanks and regards,
One for email, IM etc.
One for hobby programming/sysadmin stuff.
One for work.
One for games.
Plus I feel I'm recreating system mode here.. name the user with access
to the hw "pulse" and optimize the local pa deamons away, and we're
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