[pulseaudio-discuss] Using PULSE_SINK and PULSE_SOURCE

Alexander Todorov atodorov at otb.bg
Wed Sep 15 06:17:21 PDT 2010

Hi guys,
I'm having a bit of trouble with the usage of PULSE_SINK and PULSE_SOURCE
environment variables.

I have 2 sound cards (or more - multi-seat setup) on the PC and everything works
with Linux (verified by manually selecting the output device in sound
preferences dialog).

I want to assign each user that logs into GNOME a default sound card. For ALSA
that's a matter of setting ALSA_CARD to the index of the sound card in

For Pulse Audio I've read those two pages:

Using  `pactl list` to find out the correct sink/source names I then assign them
to the PULSE_SINK and PULSE_SOURCE variables (this is automated when user logs in).

Inside the gnome session variables have the correct values however I have no
sound. I'm testing with rhythmbox and trying to plan online radio. Nothing comes
out of the speakers.

So my question is:
1) How can I configure different sound cards to be used by different users? The
envs above look like the correct answer.

2) What happens if some application doesn't support PA? Do I need to configure a
fall back setting or something?

3) Any other hints/ideas are also welcome?


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