The third alpha release of Ubuntu 8.04, codenamed Hardy Heron, is out. It now comes with PulseAudio that is enabled by default.
PulseAudio is a sound server that allows you to do advanced operations on your sound data as it passes between your application and your hardware. Things like transferring the audio to a different machine, changing the sample format or channel count and mixing several sounds into one are easily achieved using a sound server. Aside from Linux, PulseAudio is compatible with Solaris, FreeBSD, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.
It was no surprise to me since I have experienced using PulseAudio and even wrote about it when I reviewed Fedora 8. I said on that review that all other Linux distributions should adopt it because it will give the users the ability to configure their audio system like never before. I expect all other distros to follow Fedora and now Ubuntu to utilize PulseAudio.
I would like to enumerate some of the killer features of PulseAudio:
* Per-application volume controls
* An extensible plugin architecture with support for loadable modules
* Compatibility with many popular audio applications
* Support for multiple audio sources and sinks
* Low-latency operation and support for latency measurement
* A zero-copy memory architecture for processor resource efficiency
* A command-line interface with scripting capabilities
* A sound daemon with command line reconfiguration capabilities
* Built-in sample conversion and resampling capabilities
* The ability to combine multiple sound cards into one
* The ability to synchronize multiple playback streams
You can visit PulseAudio's website @ www.pulseaudio.org.