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Ubuntu man Shuttleworth dissects Hardy Heron's arrival

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Meet Martin Owens, the Ubuntu Massachusetts LoCo leader.

Owens spotted our story on the Hardy Heron beta and claimed that all was not as well as it seemed with the release.

For example, Canonical touted the inclusion of the PulseAudio sound server with the desktop OS. Canonical hoped the PulseAudio support would help Linux get past some very annoying and archaic audio issues with Linux.

Owens, however, noted that the Pulse dump brings some problems.

"The inclusion of PulseAudio is much coveted mainly because the geeks with the biggest voice see the features of being able to control each application's volume levels as very attractive," he told us. "What we're moving from is Alsa, but that's not quite true because it's really more of a case of adding another sound system to the existing set.

"So far, Ubuntu comes with Alsa as its main audio system but also needs to support OSS (Open Sound System) because there are plenty of proprietary apps that still use it. It also includes EDS - the sound system developed by Gnome - which was still being used for Gnome system sounds. The combination of all these sound systems creates a lot of work for testers, and you have to wonder if PulseAudio fixes the real problems people have with audio such as the ability to record simple audio without having to reroute their sound system."

When we peppered Shuttleworth with this line of thinking, he remarked, "I am glad you are not into video editing because the story there is worse."

After we shared a good chuckle, he then confessed that the audio situation is not where he would like it.

Audio editing is in this messy situation where, if you know what you are doing, you can get it to work, but it shouldn't be that way.

This is the sort of thing where being able to sit around the table with the other distros and say, 'We are all going to ship Polypaudio makes sense.'

There would be pain associated with that with people saying, 'How dare the distros tell us what we should do.' But, at least there would be clear guidance to the application writers as to what would be good to support.

This is a messy situation. I don't want to abdicate by saying that no one else has a better solution. Primarily, we need to do better by collaborating with other distros.

Back to Owens' larger point about a lack of focus, the developer said the big dogs at Canonical and within the Ubunutu community may have too much sway over feature creep. He pointed to rather maniacal virtualization support as one troubling example.

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