(This rant was originally part of the live streaming series, but I moved it to a separate article because people got stuck on it instead of responding to the actual subject of the article.)
Before I get flamed for attacking Pulseaudio (PA), let's just settle this: I don't like it. I think PA is over-engineered and tries to do too many things at once. I used to (until just now) systematically purge
pulseaudio-related packages from my system, mainly because PA has this awful tendency of automatically starting and staying around eternally, which wouldn't be so bad except PA has also the bad habit of hogging the audio device exclusively, which makes regular programs like
ogg123 fail to simply play audio, unless they go through the PA straight-jacket. (Update: this seems to be a bit better in newer versions of PA, where the audio device is released when sound is not being played. Thanks Philipp Kern for the correction.)
In the GNU/Linux audio stack, we already have another system that supports multiple accesses:
ALSA itself, so I believe that PA should at least behave nicely to other apps, and it seems I am always having problems with that. (The fact that ALSA itself is over-engineered is also telling of the poor state of the audio stack in GNU/Linux.)
The other beef I have with PA is the Not Invented Here syndrome: instead of extending existing tools like ALSA or Jack, people just figured they could do everything better and start from scratch. So now we just have one more "standard" way of playing audio, good job Lennart.