PulseAudio in openSUSE

After several bugs fixed and lots of debugging, I can say now PulseAudio should be working almost perfectly (still some problems with stuttering sound on low-end machines) in openSUSE 11.0. So, here’s a summary of the things we have done, which I should have bloged about before.

First, we tried to replace the GNOME-upstream volume control with padevchooser (a system tray icon that gives access to all PulseAudio tools), but people complained loudly about the difficulty of just setting the volume with this, they just wanted a volume slider. So, we got back to the upstream volume applet, but changed it to open the PulseAudio volume control instead of gnome-volume-control.

volume applet using PA volume control

Another problem we found early was PA not working correctly on 5.1 (or other) speaker setups. There was an easy fix, just changing the number of channels in the config file, but there was no GUI, so we added one to paprefs:


With this, you can now control all your speakers individually:

Speaker setup on volume control

Apart from that, we had to tweak ALSA and SDL configurations to just use PulseAudio when on GNOME, since KDE is not using it, but I think everything should now be ok.

9 thoughts on “PulseAudio in openSUSE”

  1. Looks really good 🙂
    Would it be possible to have a nicer way to pick speaker layout, rather than just a list of layouts? Some sort of images maybe?

  2. Overall, good work. I like to see things progressing forward technically.

    However, just at a quick glance, it looks like there are a number of UI/UX issues in each dialog.

    Here’s a quick list:

    * Why is each dialog branded as PulseAudio, in a huge, useless header?

    * “playback stream” and “output device” are pretty jargony, plus, I don’t understand why a person would want to right-click and move them around (referring to the tip).

    * Most people want to adjust both the right and left channels at the same time. I don’t see an obvious way to lock them together (to adjust both at once). Perhaps a better UI metaphor would be to have one volume slider for both the left and the right and then a little widget (probably another slider) to adjust the left/right balance.

    * The mute icon should probably be a mute button, with the word “mute”, perhaps.

    * I don’t understand the speaker layout in the speakers tab. Is that supposed to be a dropdown? Why is it so wide? Shouldn’t there be a label to the left of it too? Can you do any auto-detection, so the list only presents what is available as valid options (and probably greying out the rest)? What happens if I set up 7.1 when I only have computer speakers attached?

    * Why are playback, output devices, and input devices separate? Sure, they’re different technically, but I think the user wants to be able to control the overall volume of computer’s sound, the input volume, and application volume in once place. Can the UI be simplified to optimize for the 90% case? I think the fine-grained audio output UI (front left and right, back left and right, etc. can be either changed into volume + balance + fade, like a car radio, or have one overall volume with either details/advanced settings in a dialog or disclosure widget). I’d opt for a UI similar to what people already know, such as the car or home stereo setup (the volume + balance + fade approach).

    I realize that your blog is not the appropriate place for official bugs on this sort of thing… and that bugzilla is, but since you’re talking about it, it is under development, and I’m referring to your screenshots, I decided to post here quickly.

    Hopefully my feedback is useful.

    Also, I should upgrade my laptop running an openSUSE 11 beta to the latest to see how it all works first-hand. (:

  3. Garett, add your thoughts as bugs in PA bug tracker, so developer can see them.

    Personally, I’m curious why making good things with KDE is always abandoned…

    We had many great things implemented in GNOME, but even they’re desktop agnostic, they are not implemented/used in/by KDE…

    I use mostly KDE, but that’s kind of discrimination…

  4. I had to search around on the pulseaudio website for where to report a bug for upstream, and found the link to “add a new ticket” at this link:

    Then, it immediately gives me this error:

    TICKET_CREATE privileges are required to perform this operation

    I’ll just report it in the Novell bugzilla against openSUSE for now, I guess.

  5. You need to register yourself in there to report.

    Please, report in there because Lennart Poettering doesn’t use openSUSE neither Novell’s bugzilla and will notice no bug report.

    Upstream bugs should land upstream, unless it’s not about packaging 😉 .

  6. I do not believe that using pavmeter is a good decision because it looks too complicated compared for a normal user, they use some jargon like sink, server, etc. I think SuSE instead should start a project to develop a new volume meter for gnome-media, I just hate to wait till 2.26 to see this feature.

  7. Awesome. But any links/info on how to get pulseaudio working with Bluetooth headset? Im on RC1 and Im not able to do much.

  8. PulseAudio is a crap. First thing I’ve done to delete this buggy rubbish from the almost fine oS11. I hope the pulseAudio will disappear soon from Linux and never come back, I don’t need one more bad designed “wannabe” sound server which is not compatible to any audio app.

  9. Wow. What a emotions…

    PA replaced ESD – takes less resources and support per-app volume setting. It is crap? I don’t think so…

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