Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 7th Jul 2011 17:36 UTC, submitted by vivainio
Linux Linux.FR has an interview with Lennart Poettering of PulseAudio and systemd fame (among others). Regarding PulseAudio: "I can understand why people were upset, but quite frankly we didn't really have another option than to push it into the distributions when we did. While PulseAudio certainly wasn't bug-free when the distributions picked it up the majority of issues were actually not in PulseAudio itself but simply in the audio drivers. PulseAudio's timer-based scheduling requires correct timing information supplied by the audio driver, and back then the drivers weren't really providing that. And that not because the drivers were really broken, but more because the hardware was, and the drivers just lacked the right set of work-arounds, quirks and fixes to compensate for it."
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Also, why?
by cmchittom on Thu 7th Jul 2011 19:20 UTC
cmchittom
Member since:
2011-03-18

In the interview, Lennart says:

An audio stack that is not capable of timer-based scheduling and dynamic latency control based on that is not useful on consumer devices.


Why? I mean, seriously, why? All I want is my computer to play my audio files, and maybe do a nice beep at me when it pops up an error dialogue. I know there are people who want all the sophisticated audio capabilities, but the vast majority, I think, don't. Let the people that want that kind of thing get it elsewhere instead of breaking everybody's sound with PulseAudio. Pushing PA on everybody really struck me as forcing the "right way" over the "way that actually works." It's exactly this kind of overly frequent reimplementation for no gain to most users—quite the opposite—that drove me away from Linux.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Also, why?
by ameasures on Thu 7th Jul 2011 19:56 in reply to "Also, why?"
ameasures Member since:
2006-01-09

In the interview, Lennart says:

"An audio stack that is not capable of timer-based scheduling and dynamic latency control based on that is not useful on consumer devices.


Why? I mean, seriously, why? All I want is my computer to play my audio files, and maybe do a nice beep at me when it pops up an error dialogue.
"

Well, yes and no. In the short term you've got a point; and in the longer view there is a point where it has to be engineered right to be capable across a range of applications.

Frankly whenever and whoever took the bull by the horns saying, in effect: "now is the moment" to sort out the sound sub-system ... would be unpopular for a while.

He makes the same point himself:
Also, what other option would there have been? It's pretty naive to believe that if we had waited any longer with pushing PulseAudio into the distributions things would have gone any different: you cannot fix bugs you don't know about, and the incentive and manpower is too small to get them fixed without having the pressure that the stuff is shipped.


As with many areas of life: there are good and honourable ways to proceed that just don't get the job done.

The struggle is to find ways to proceed that do get the job done; and are honourable and good.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Also, why?
by cmchittom on Thu 7th Jul 2011 20:34 in reply to "RE: Also, why?"
cmchittom Member since:
2011-03-18

"In the interview, Lennart says:

[q]An audio stack that is not capable of timer-based scheduling and dynamic latency control based on that is not useful on consumer devices.


Why? I mean, seriously, why? All I want is my computer to play my audio files, and maybe do a nice beep at me when it pops up an error dialogue.
"

Well, yes and no. In the short term you've got a point; and in the longer view there is a point where it has to be engineered right to be capable across a range of applications. [/q]

Again: why? Or put better, why are these mutually exclusive? Keep the old way as the default, but offer the new way as an option until the kinks get worked out—lots of distributions used this strategy for the ext2–ext3 transition, I seem to recall.

Frankly whenever and whoever took the bull by the horns saying, in effect: "now is the moment" to sort out the sound sub-system ... would be unpopular for a while.


Sure, I'll buy that. But I think it's beside the point.

He makes the same point himself:
"Also, what other option would there have been? It's pretty naive to believe that if we had waited any longer with pushing PulseAudio into the distributions things would have gone any different: you cannot fix bugs you don't know about, and the incentive and manpower is too small to get them fixed without having the pressure that the stuff is shipped.
"

Essentially his argument is "We had to push our buggy software on people because, since not enough people are interested in testing it, we have to make them." Does no one else see the enormous problems with that? Not least that if manpower is really that much of a problem for you, maybe you should get the message that it's not something people want or need?

Don't get me wrong, I would have had absolutely no problem if PulseAudio had been optional, or if it had been part of a distribution specifically aimed at people who need its high-end features, even if it had been twice as buggy.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Also, why?
by diegocg on Thu 7th Jul 2011 20:22 in reply to "Also, why?"
diegocg Member since:
2005-07-08

Why? I mean, seriously, why?

Glitch-free audio and reduced power consumption. These are not "sophisticated audio capabilities", these are very basic requirements that a modern audio stack for desktops can't miss and Linux was missing.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Also, why?
by cmchittom on Thu 7th Jul 2011 20:40 in reply to "RE: Also, why?"
cmchittom Member since:
2011-03-18

Why? I mean, seriously, why?

Glitch-free audio and reduced power consumption. These are not "sophisticated audio capabilities", these are very basic requirements that a modern audio stack for desktops can't miss and Linux was missing.


I'll grant that glitch-free audio is a requirement for an audio stack, but every Linux box I ever used since '98 had that, with OSS and then ALSA—to the extent of the majority of normal desktops need: like I said, to play some audio files and maybe a nice beep for an error. I don't have any statistics, but I'd be very surprised if most people's usage strays far from that.

I definitely do not grant that reduced power consumption is a "very basic requirement"—all else being equal, it would be nice to have that too. But I'd much rather have an audio stack without it that works than one that uses no power at all since it isn't working.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Also, why?
by tuma324 on Thu 7th Jul 2011 23:46 in reply to "Also, why?"
tuma324 Member since:
2010-04-09

In the interview, Lennart says:

"An audio stack that is not capable of timer-based scheduling and dynamic latency control based on that is not useful on consumer devices.


Why? I mean, seriously, why? All I want is my computer to play my audio files, and maybe do a nice beep at me when it pops up an error dialogue. I know there are people who want all the sophisticated audio capabilities, but the vast majority, I think, don't. Let the people that want that kind of thing get it elsewhere instead of breaking everybody's sound with PulseAudio. Pushing PA on everybody really struck me as forcing the "right way" over the "way that actually works." It's exactly this kind of overly frequent reimplementation for no gain to most users—quite the opposite—that drove me away from Linux.
"

Stop crying, just because you can play your mp3s on your 486 with 2-speakers doesn't mean Linux audio need to get stuck.

There are people who have different needs than you have, and software must advance regardless of your needs or my needs.

I can't stand Linux users sometimes, all they do is complain when someone actually wants to improve the system. It's getting annoying and old.

So to answer your question of "Why": It's because people have different needs than you have, and they have the right to move the system forward. Quit being so bitchy and selfish, if you don't like progress go use Windows 95.

Edited 2011-07-08 00:01 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Also, why?
by cmchittom on Fri 8th Jul 2011 02:12 in reply to "RE: Also, why?"
cmchittom Member since:
2011-03-18

I can't stand Linux users sometimes, all they do is complain when someone actually wants to improve the system. It's getting annoying and old.

So to answer your question of "Why": It's because people have different needs than you have, and they have the right to move the system forward. Quit being so bitchy and selfish, if you don't like progress go use Windows 95.


A. Grow up.
B. It's not about not wanting things to improve. It's about replacing a working system—albeit one that doesn't do everything—with one that was in many cases broken, and then telling everybody it was The Right Thing To Do. I've got no objection to improvements, but they shouldn't ever be the default until they by God work.

Reply Parent Score: 0