Overview of current state 2015
- The sound stack in Linux has been the weakest link in Linux-as-a-desktop, and documentation on the web is often conflicting, out-of-date and dispiriting. Part of the problem is that pulseaudio was released before it was ready. The good news is that as of wheezy it pretty much works as advertised.
According to ALSA this is how you should see your sound system: Graphic of ALSA based system
According to Jackd, this is how you should see your sound system: Graphic of Jackd based system
- ALSA was working pretty well until the push to use pulse audio - pulseaudio was somewhat of a mess in squeeze.
Here is a bit of an explanation of the different sound services found in linux systems.
Bluetooth Sound Devices works under KDE with bluedevil as the GUI as of wheezy
- The fact - contrary to what is stated in many places on the web - is that as of wheezy, you can have ALSA, pulseaudio, phonon, and Jackd all running at the same time - interacting peacefully for the most part.
How to Provide Useful Bug Reports
(Instructions here from the 'Pulseaudio maintenance team' on how to provide useful bug reports would be helpful.)
ALSA - Provides the driver level code for sound and a basic application interface
PulseAudio - Provides a more advanced application interface and can glue ALSA, jackd, phonon together
- jackd2 - Low latency sound system for pro audio mixing.
- phonon - KDE's sound interface - the setup can set configurations that pulseaudio uses to pick which sound device to use
bluedevil KDE gui app for the bluetooth headsets stack
Timidity - Software sound renderer (MIDI sequencer, MOD player)
- rosegarden - Music scoring software with hooks for midi based sound