The State of Pulseaudio in 2021

Every now and then I like to revisit an old topic.

So, let’s revisit pulseaudio and my hatred for it, shall we?

Now, you’re not an old greybeard like me, so you’re probably saying to yourself right now “OMG still with pulseaudio?!? That attitude is sooooo 2008!”

Well, for all the people over the years who have repeated the line of pure bullshit propaganda that “pulseaudio is much better these days and almost sorta kinda works most of the time, if you squint”, I’d like to present my first, reflexive solution to the fact that today I had no audio in zoom on a laptop with a current version of pulseaudio. A solution which, I might add, solved my problem instantly:

$ sudo bash -c "while true; do pkill -9 pulseaudio; done" &

Sure, it might not be efficient or pretty, but it worked. And it serves as a perfect metaphor for the state of Linux audio for this past decade and change, which can be summed up as “If you have an audio problem on Linux, the fault lies with pulseaudio”.

There have been multiple occasions where I’ve been trying to figure out some weird audio behaviour, only to realise “Oh OF COURSE! How silly of me! this machine has pulseaudio installed!”, and disable pulseaudio, and the problem goes away.

I’d file bugs for all this stuff, but I’m sure the fault lies with gnome (which I don’t use), or KDE (which I don’t use), or nginx, or my distro, or perhaps Microsoft Office. I’m sure these things are not actually problems with pulseaudio, because Lennart’s software never has any bugs.

I for one welcome the next decade’s worth of “if there’s a weird issue on Linux, The problem lies with systemd”, and being told in my bug reports that the problem is in the default configuration that comes with Mac OS X Server.

Now it’s off to go read the documentation (yet again) on how to disable this godawful dreck to stop it from automatically starting itself. Unfortunately we’re not in the days where just removing it is a simple option anymore (thanks for the totally unnecessary hard dependency, mozilla!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>