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PulseAudio and Firefox

Filed under: General — Thomas @ 11:12 am

11:12 am

Taking further notes as I try and work through the various questions and problems that plague my setup with PulseAudio.

If you can shed any light on the following, please do!

  • Whenever pulseaudio crashes, sound in Firefox doesn’t work, even after restarting pulseaudio. (pavucontrol seems to suggest I’m using the ALSA plug-in for firefox). I assume we can agree that this is a bug. Can Firefox use pulseaudio natively, without the alsa emulation ? Is there any other way to make Firefox sound work as long as pulse is running ?
  • I’m trying to figure out why my F-11 desktop/client cannot see the devices from my F-9 media machine/server anymore – yesterday I had it working. avahi-browse -a -t on the server shows the sound cards exported; on the client, the same command lists all the other services on that server, except for the soundcard. paprefs on the server tells me that the devices should be fully network-reachable and exported. What else could be causing this problem ?
  • If pulse is for some reason not running on the server, should it be possible for an audio app on the client to trigger the server’s pulse to start, similar to how it works on the local machine ?


  1. Firefox itself isn’t playing any audio (unless you are using the -tag in 3.5)
    It’s probably Flash or some other browser plugin.

    Comment by Hans — 2009-9-11 @ 12:03 pm

  2. […] Follow this link: thomas.apestaart.org » PulseAudio and Firefox […]

    Pingback by thomas.apestaart.org » PulseAudio and Firefox | Firefox News on Twitter — 2009-9-11 @ 2:55 pm

  3. When PulseAudio crashes and you use file picker, it will crash your Firefox, because one single PulseAudio PID is used.
    Same applies to most GNOME apps. It’s horrible idea.

    Comment by Livio — 2009-9-11 @ 3:36 pm

  4. Uh, Flash is broken and cannot really deal with audio devices going away. i.e. it isn’t able to deal with PA dying and neither with a hot unplug. It’s evil closed source software.

    That said, of course, PA shouldn’t crash fo you in the first place…

    Comment by Lennart — 2009-9-11 @ 4:06 pm

  5. This seems to be the fundamental design mistake of Pulse Audio: the fact that it introduces a new requirement: “Audio can go away”.

    Unix applications do not cope with their devices going away.

    Pulse Audio recklessly now states that every application should deal with this or it is “broken” or “evil closed source software”; And this is like asking that every application cope with the hard disk being pulled from under it.

    The reality is that Pulse Audio is not only a broken design, that introduces broken requirements, but also poorly coded. The broken design could be justified on some “big picture” vision of some sort, but the fact that Pulse Audio is such a poor execution of the broken idea just aggravates the situation.

    Do not expect any answer from Lennart, only expect lectures as to how “you are doing it wrong”.

    Comment by Foobar — 2009-9-11 @ 4:44 pm

  6. Broken? What does it mean?

    Comment by elLolo — 2009-9-11 @ 4:50 pm

  7. It’s not only Firefox that suffers from this, other apps have the same problem too. And to make it worse, when coming back from hibernation pulse doesn’t usually restart, which means all applications that were running and need audio will not have audio until they’re restarted. It’s not even about PA crashing, it’s just about PA getting restarted. But of course this is because all applications are evil, it’s not pulse’s fault, no…

    Comment by S. — 2009-9-11 @ 4:52 pm

  8. About your second point, in Ubuntu Karmic my network tunnel devices don’t show up anymore either in spite of the relevant modules loaded and them being present in avahi-discover. And both ends have the same version of PA running.

    Comment by Tobias — 2009-9-11 @ 5:08 pm

  9. “Whenever pulseaudio crashes”

    Haha is there any greater criticism of a piece of software? Obviously no-one learnt anything from arts.

    I’m pretty sure pulseaudio is the most uninstalled piece of software in gnome.

    Comment by Tim — 2009-9-11 @ 5:38 pm

  10. […] http://thomas.apestaart.org/log/?p=1021 a few seconds ago from Gwibber […]

    Pingback by Frederik (fhimpe) 's status on Friday, 11-Sep-09 20:55:04 UTC - Identi.ca — 2009-9-11 @ 9:57 pm

  11. @Foobar
    Why shouldn’t I be allowed to unplug my headphones or speakers? Sounds more like finally someone is doing the right thing and the other projects should fix their applications as it’s theirs that are broken.
    I take it you’ve never heard of external harddrives either or USB sticks, ~SD cards or *CD?

    Comment by Arc — 2009-9-12 @ 1:08 pm

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