[pulseaudio-discuss] Make pulseaudio the default alsa device

Tanu Kaskinen tanuk at iki.fi
Fri Oct 21 13:22:26 UTC 2016

On Tue, 2016-10-18 at 09:59 -0300, Felipe Sateler wrote:
> On 18 October 2016 at 06:50, Tanu Kaskinen <tanuk at iki.fi> wrote:
> > If the system is configured to use pulseaudio, then I would prefer alsa
> > applications to fail if pulseaudio isn't running, rather than falling
> > back to whatever the default is if pulse-alsa.conf isn't loaded. It
> > makes debugging easier.
> I'm not sure if it makes sense to ask if "the system is configured to
> use pulseaudio", because individual users on a system might
> disable/enable it.

Wouldn't per-user configuration be better suited for ~/.asoundrc? Now
you're assuming that if pulseaudio isn't available for whatever reason,
the user doesn't want to use pulseaudio. That's not always correct, but
it might be correct often enough that it makes sense for you to do that
instead of requiring users to modify ~/.asoundrc.

One alternative would be to create a program/script for
disabling/enabling pulseaudio (which is nowadays annoyingly
distribution specific, so a unifying script would be welcome even for
this reason alone), which would also (optionally) set up the default
device in ~/.asoundrc. That way there would be just one step for users
to toggle between pulseaudio and plain alsa.

> > But if the Debian alsa maintainers prefer to
> > fall back to non-pulseaudio configuration even when pulseaudio is
> > installed, then it seems reasonable to propose this to alsa upstream.
> This file is being shipped by pulseaudio, not alsa.

(By "pulseaudio" you obviously mean the Debian package, not the
upstream project.)

Ok, so shipping this in pulseaudio upstream would be more convenient
for Debian. However, alsa-plugins already has a file that sets
pulseaudio as the default device, and e.g. OpenEmbedded ships the
configuration in alsa-plugins-pulseaudio-conf, which is a binary
package generated from the alsa-plugins source.

Having two different but similar-in-purpose alsa configuration files in
two upstream projects doesn't seem sensible, so either the existing
file in alsa-plugins should be moved to pulseaudio, or you should try
to upstream your configuration file to alsa-plugins. I don't think
either option is clearly better than the other (but as the OpenEmbedded
alsa and pulseaudio maintainer I'd obviously prefer shipping the files
in alsa-plugins, since that would be less work for me).


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