Pulseaudio: the more things change, the more they stay the sameSuch a classic Linux story.
For a video I'll be showing during tonight's planetarium presentation
Stars, and Satellites: Celestial Navigation Through the Ages, for
anyone in the Los Alamos area),
I wanted to get HDMI audio working from my laptop, running Debian Stretch.
I'd done that once before on this laptop
Presentation Setup Part I and
II) so I had some instructions to follow; but while
showed the HDMI audio device,
aplay -D plughw:0,3
didn't play anything and
only showed two devices, not the long list of devices I was used to seeing.
Web searches related to Linux HDMI audio all pointed to pulseaudio, which I don't use, and I was having trouble finding anything for plain ALSA without pulse. In the old days, removing pulseaudio used to be the cure for practically every Linux audio problem. But I thought to myself, It's been a couple years since I actually tried pulse, and people have told me it's better now. And it would be a relief to have pulseaudio working so things like Firefox would Just Work. Maybe I should try installing it and see what happens.
So I ran an
aptitude search pulseaudio to find the
package name I'd need to install. Imagine my surprise when it turned
out that it was already installed!
So I did some more web searching to find out how to talk to pulse and figure out how to enable HDMI, or un-mute it, or whatever it was I needed. But to no avail: everything I found was stuff like "In the Ubuntu audio panel, do this". The few pages I found that listed commands to run didn't help -- the commands all gave errors.
Running short on time,
I reverted to the old days:
aptitude purge pulseaudio.
Rebooted to make sure the audio system was reset,
and sure enough, there were all my normal devices, including the IEC958 device
for HDMI, which was indeed muted. I unmuted it, tried the video again --
and music blasted from my TV's speakers.
I'm sure there are machines where pulseaudio works. There are even
a few people who have audio setups complicated enough to need
something like pulseaudio. But in 2018, just as in 2006,
aptitude purge pulseaudio is the easiest solution
to a Linux sound problem.
[ 14:17 Jul 20, 2018 More linux | permalink to this entry | ]