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Re: Two problems in f9 - pulseaudio and kde4 - need suggestions

On Sunday 12 October 2008 06:01, William W. Austin wrote:
> The first is a set of problems with pulseaudio.  On my favorite
> workstation, a 64-bit machine with a dual-core cpu, I have both a SB
> Audigy 2 (350) and sound on the mb 8-channel real-tek.
> If anyone has a working pulseaudio configuration which successfully
> drives the Audigy 2 in 5+1 mode, I would love to see it.  Even with
> that I could probably move the speech synthesizer apps to another box.

I don't have F9 on this machine to check, but it seems there were reports of 
Audigy working with pulseaudio on this list. You may want to check the 

The main problem, though, is that you want to use both Audigy and Realtek 
cards simultaneously, which is problematic to setup (to say the least). There 
were questions on the list about that as well.

The way I see it, pulseaudio works between userspace apps and ALSA. Its major 
(or only?) purpose is to make volume controls of various apps independent of 
each other. A typical use-case: you listen to some music in xmms, and then 
skype starts ringing. You want to answer the call and talk, while turning the 
volume of xmms down just a little so it doesn't interfere with your friends 
voice too much. Without pulseaudio this is downright impossible, because the 
only volume control available is the system-wide mixer --- which turns volume 
down for both xmms and skype simultaneously. Pulseaudio is designed to deal 
with this problem.

Another use-case: you are watching a movie in mplayer, and have to turn the 
system volume way up high because the movie sound is badly recorded. And in 
the middle of playback, some background app suddenly crashes, and the KDE 
sound notification blows away your speakers and your ears. If you had 
pulseaudio, you could adjust the volume of mplayer and KDE notifications 

I believe you have avoided such problems by using two sound cards, but this 
functionality should better be available in software rather then a hardware 
requirement. So you may choose to remove pulseaudio altogether and use only 
alsa and your old setup, or you may choose to try and configure pulseaudio to 
use both sound cards (though I don't know how to do it).

> The other item which has me puzzled and less than happy is kde4.  It
> seems seriously "dumbed down" compared to kde3. Several configuration 
> items are either absent or so well hidden that they might as well be.

This has also been discussed to death on the list. In short, KDE4 is not an 
upgrade of KDE3, but a complete rewrite from scratch. Given that, it still 
does lack some configuration options that were present in KDE3 --- the 
developers just need some more time to implement them again in the new code 
framework. But it is being done very fast, and KDE 4.2 (iirc, to come with 
F10) will be much more feature-rich then the present version 4.1.

The complete rewrite of the code is due to the changed paradigm of what a 
desktop environment should be and how it should function --- note that icons 
are removed from the desktop and widgets are put on, etc. If you dislike the 
new paradigm you may stick with the dying KDE3.5, or configure KDE4 to 
resemble it as much as you can/need.

> In particular, having the menu systems pinned (a la windoze) to a spot
> on a panel rather than being able to assign them to mouse clicks
> anywhere on the screen is a real drag.

Not sure what you are describing. You can certainly add "Application Launcher" 
widget to the desktop, move it whereever you like and click on it to open the 
menus. What else do you have in mind?

> And then there is the inability 
> to add apps to panel itself - a serious lack for my purposes.

Update F9 to current KDE 4.1. Make sure widgets are unlocked. Open the menu in 
kickoff style, browse to your app, right click and select "add to panel".

> Either it
> was someone's intention to dumb down kde4 the way that gnome has been  
> so that more technical users have to give up and go elsewhere OR a good
> deal of the "configurability" which was present in kde3 is simply not
> ready yet for kde4. (yes, I *have* edited my menus - that's not an
> issue.)

The latter. Not all configurability is ready yet. One thing I miss a lot is 
panel hiding. I hear it is to be implemented in version 4.2, so I just have 
to wait for it. :-(

> I would simply remove kde4 and go back to kde3, but I have already
> tried that once, but it was not successful as (at least) a few other
> apps seem to depend on kde4's presence, so I had to reinstall it.

As I understand it is quite hard to go back. Basically, your best bet would be 
to remove everything related to KDE4, and then recompile whole KDE3 from 
source. But I've also read that KDE3 is dying (no longer being developed nor 
actively maintained) so maybe this is not such a good option for long-term.

> On this issue, it's possible that I have missed something, and if so
> someone please clue me in (I have RTFM'ed AND RTFsourceCode + web
> searched so much that my eyes are beginning to rebel).
> Any suggestions on either of these two points would be VERY greatly
> appreciated.  OTOH I'll probably wake up tomorrow with solutions to all
> of the above and will feel really stoopid for sending this email.

HTH, :-)

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