Re: Project Stick In The Mud :-)

On Sat, 9 Aug 2008 20:02:10 -0500
"Arthur Pemberton" <pemboa@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Seems like PulseAudio is the way forward towards reducing the myriad
of "other ways". What problem do you have with it besides that it is

As near as I can tell, they have reduced the myriad of other ways to
the point that all you can do is stereo output to your primary speakers.
If there is a way to get it to send the digital audio track from
a DVD to the SP/DIF output on my motherboard, I haven't been able
to detect it (which brings up another point - why do all "improvements"
always come with absolutely no documentation :-).

With alsa, it only took six weeks of searching to find the utterly
cryptic way to get SP/DIF working:

amixer set IEC958 unmute
amixer set 'IEC958 Playback AC97-SPSA' 0
amixer set 'IEC958 Playback Source' PCM
mplayer dvd://1 -alang en -ao alsa:device=hw=0.0 -ac hwdts,hwac3,

So at least it is possible to do in alsa (though, of course, if
I have a different audio device, I need different cryptic gibberish).

In fact I've been detecting a disturbing trend in all the latest
"improvements" - useful things that once worked, keep disappearing:

improved GDM doesn't have any way to change the default X server
options, so you can't remove -nolisten tcp or add -dpi 96

improved X server now always gets all its information from EDID (after
ignoring it for the first 20 years), so now you can't override the
screen size to change the default DPI or provide a mode line to run
slightly less than 60HZ, etc.

improved evdev X input system can't do draglock, thus making trackballs
impossible to use without three hands (fortunately I can still disable
evdev and go back to old crappy input system where draglock does work).

improved NetworkManager won't run the same dhclient hook scripts
or start early enough that you can have a functioning network when
servers need one (fortunately you can disable NetworkManager and
enable network and get back to the old crappy technique where things
just work right :-).

If many more things get improved the same way, it will be almost
as big an improvement as vista is over xp :-).

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