The Linux sound system scene looks like it was deliberately designed to be useless.

ALSA sees all my inputs and outputs, but it can't be used to learn (or control) anything about software and where their sound goes. Plus it's near impossible to identify inputs and outputs.

PulseAudio does all sorts of things automatically, but it's hard to configure and has high latency.

JACK is very convenient to configure, has great command line tools (like you'd expect from Linux), is scriptable, but it doesn't see things.

Generally, all of these see the others as a single output and a single input, which none of them are.

  • 4
    Linux audio is garbage. I ran my DAW workflow on Linux for a while, it was an absolute horrorshow of configurations and things breaking randomly. I just want to make music and connect all my music making and recording devices damnit.
  • 9
    Truth is Linux is meant to be a server OS and most of them servers don’t need sound.
  • 0
    I mean, I haven't done too much experience with Linux' sound systems, but as someone who recently switched from Windows, they're a big upgrade.
  • 3
    I've had enough. I'm no longer learning about elegant if counterintuitive solutions. I'm learning about how something that should be as simple as installing jack and scripting it to connect things the right way, is complicated to the point where I'm forced to specify the Mac address of my headset in the asoundrc (which is a severe violation of the unix principle, beside being incredibly stupid), and to specify a fragment size above 4232 manually to bypass a segfault in jack2's alsa_out.
  • 5
    Sound is a trash fire in Linux. I’m not sure there is a better system. Because it’s a trash fire in macOS too.

    I don’t know why this problem is so hard but it seems to be for some reason. I think the problem is people come up with overly complex solutions that don’t work very well. Obvious thing to do is make a simple robust implementation, but then you do that and suddenly it doesn’t do enough. Because most applications just want to play stereo sound and don’t care where it comes out, so the API ends up being too simple.

    Personally I think sound should just have /dev handles and you can stream data into and out of them. One per input and output. But then what about stereo vs mono? One sample phase offset is not acceptable, so you can’t really run them independently. So you make stereo files. But then what about 5.1? It gets really tough when you consider you have to synchronize and some sound is real time I.e. games.
  • 2
    I'm amazed we still use PulseAudio, which also consumes a lot of CPU,
    and even more amazed it still outperforms ALSA.

    Love Linux but sound is absolutely crap.
  • 0
    @Nihil75 everyone is amazed that we use pulse audio :/
  • 0
    @FrodoSwaggins My current stance is that I ditched pulse for good and I'm programmatically composing an asoundrc to manage ALSA until I find the right, lightweight config that allows me to wire everything nicely and dynamically into JACK while also exposing all output devices. It'll probably involve a lot of "file" type PCMs with pipes to the basic stdin jack client utility.
  • 1
    @molaram i always love when this theme repeats

    a: linux ain't that hard and can be used as a any other PC OS (even by BFU)

    b: <user tries it and encounters issues>

    a: yeah, it wasn't really meant to work this way, so it kinda sucks at it
  • 0
    @qwwerty Do people actually say that Linux is good for BFU? That's just stupid. It's a great OS, but it requires willingness to learn and a lot of time.
  • 1
    @Lor-inc Its definitely getting better even for BFU, there was a big push lately and most things do work out of the box, unless the things you want is plugging in USB headphones or using Nvidia with Optimus.

    I don't know why audio is such a big issue still though, its kinda embarrasing for us linux users tbh.

    But you can stick a few linux distros into the hands of someone clueless and he'll be able to use it for what most of them do, browsing, social networks, youtube, emails, managing bank account, even graphics for artists. Documents are still wonky, and I even had some issues with usb-c but its slowly getting there, which is good for a free system
Add Comment