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Weekend Project: Using PulseAudio to Share Sound Across All Your Computers

Jul 23, 2010, 19:34 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Nathan Willis)

"PulseAudio is a Linux sound server that, through abstraction layers, promises a myriad of flexible audio features: combining multiple sound cards into a single, multi-channel device, changing output devices on the fly for running applications, even redirecting input and output between machines over the network. Sadly, though, it is usually used just as a bare-bones drop-in replacement for older, buggier sound servers like ESD -- because that is the most common use case, and because the PulseAudio documentation and tools aren't caught up to the same level as the underlying library. Full PulseAudio nirvana entails digging into the project in depth, but you can at least get your feet wet over the weekend, directing and even multicasting audio between Linux machines on your local network.

"Initial Setup

"PulseAudio is the default sound server for most GNOME-based desktop Linux distributions, so after installation, the GNOME desktop's PulseAudio configuration should work with most general-purpose applications that produce audio output. Unfortunately there are always exceptions, most often among dedicated multimedia apps that prefer to behave according to their own configuration rules rather than broader standards. The list can include video players like MythTV or MPlayer, or audio conferencing tools like Skype. You should go ahead and install all of the PulseAudio packages provided by your distribution -- particularly paprefs, pavucontrol, and pulseaudio-utils."

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