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Can you hear me now?

May 15, 2009, 00:03 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Corbet)

"Anybody who has been sufficiently distant from the disturbance on the fedora-devel mailing list can be forgiven for wondering what is going on here. In short: changes to the PulseAudio volume control widget shipped in Fedora 11 have made it hard for some users to get sound out of their systems in the manner to which they have become accustomed, and they're not happy about it.

"The longer version goes something like this. The low-level ALSA sound system provides a great deal of control over the underlying hardware, exposing all of the knobs supported there. Volume-control applications have typically made all of those knobs available to the user. That sounds like the proper way to give users full control over their hardware, but, as anybody who has pulled up the mixer on moderately-complicated hardware knows, the result can be an unbelievable mess of confusing sliders. See this image for an example. There is a clear usability problem here."

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