[vlc-devel] Flamebait: PulseAudio removal

Rémi Denis-Courmont remi at remlab.net
Sat Nov 27 19:24:48 CET 2010


The VLC PulseAudio output is known to cause huge memory leaks in some 
circumstances, that have appaled a number of Linux VLC users. I don't know if 
it is a VLC, a PulseAudio, or more likely a plugin bug.

But this may be a moot issue because:

* The VLC PulseAudio plugin seems(?) unmaintained.

* PulseAudio itself is largelly unmaintained. Lennart Poettering decided to 
reinvent a more interesting wheel, in the form of systemd. And instead of 
naming a co-release manager for PulseAudio, he let the thing bit rot. I have 
to guess that RedHat does not really care about PulseAudio, or how could they 
let such a "critical" piece of Linux so poorly maintained.

* Lennart pretends that the future of audio on open-source is gstreamer in 
front of PulseAudio. By enabling PulseAudio, we give him more credits than he 

* Much of what PulseAudio does, VLC and/or alsa-lib can do, notably 
resampling, sample format conversion and software mixing. I am yet to find any 
practical justification for PulseAudio.

* alsa-lib is horrible, but so is libpulse.

* Lennart literally said to me (IRL) that he should fix the other (i.e. than 
gstreamer) media framework, but then again he couldn't care less. Colin 
Guthrie has tried to apologize but clearly failed to convince Lennart. In any 
case, none of the PulseAudio guys tried to fix the VLC PulseAudio output.

Of course, if we remove PulseAudio, we have to make sure we don't end up using 
it through OSS or ALSA, as the PulseAudio emulation of those is complete crap 
and not going to be fixed. Not to worry, this is pretty trivial as long as 
PulseAudio is run by the user session:

	/* PulseAudio hijacks ALSA and OSS defaults. Kill it. */
	system("killall pulseaudio");

Rémi Denis-Courmont

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