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Old 03-03-2019, 09:39 AM   #1
Registered: Nov 2001
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Did you know there are "Pulseaudio-only" audio devices?

I just found out that that some audio devices only work with Pulseaudio on Linux. They do not work with plain Alsa. This was new to me as I thought that Pulseaudio was just needed for specialist configurations or for mixing more than one sound at once.

I know for a fact that most Linux sound configurations do not require Pulseaudio. Every computer I have ever set up prior to this point did not use Pulseaudio and works fine. Internal sound, analog sound, HDMI direct sound, HDMI to optical sound, USB sound, USB microphones, analog microphones, it all works with Alsa.

I see these Pulseaudio-only devices as kind of like the old "Winmodems". These modems required special software and were not universally compatible. They were also cheap and made you feel like a bad person if you had one. Kind of like an audio device that requires Pulseaudio. You keep on scrubbing in the shower but the dirt never really comes off.

I wonder if a list is being maintained of these feature limited devices somewhere? Or maybe I am the canary in the coal mine being one of the first to warn about this alarming problem.

To be fair I have been speaking in the plural but the only device I know of that behaves this way is the Odroid c0. Maybe this device is an anomaly and the red flags do not need to be raised just yet.

I see three solutions to this problem. Getting the word out so the community can reach a solution, finding a technical solution myself, or coming to a financial solution with the manufacturer or technical partner. The first is what I am doing right now. The second is likely outside my capability level. The third is a possibility as I have just purchased new Odroid boards and I might can work with them to fix this problem through official channels. Working with a technical partner (a bounty) may be viable but I would likely need to pay just to even research the scope of the problem. Furthermore, it is not clear how much longer I am going to need to use these boards.

I was both interested and shocked to find this out. It also took about 2 complete days of troubleshooting to have to resort to using Pulseaudio. So I thought I would see what others think.
Old 03-03-2019, 11:20 AM   #2
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I don't see what the panic is about. How many distros don't use PulseAudio these days? Even the Mac and most BSDs have it.
Old 03-03-2019, 11:51 AM   #3
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Bluetooth audio devices (like Bluetooth headphones and speakers) need Pulseaudio. That's why Slackware adopted Pulseaudio.
Old 03-03-2019, 02:00 PM   #4
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<i>Moved: This thread is more suitable in Linux-Software and has been moved accordingly to help your thread/question get the exposure it deserves.</i>
Old 03-03-2019, 03:24 PM   #5
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Very common the developers use the headers from pulseaudio to simplify things for them. Not much you can do unless fork
the code and maintain it for alsa and pulseaudio.
remember pulseaudio is a server that uses ALSA.
Old 03-03-2019, 08:39 PM   #6
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If I recall correctly, Pat included Pulse Audio in Slackware because Bluetooth devices now expect Pulse.


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