Wine and PulseAudio

Tomas Carnecky tom at
Thu Feb 21 18:50:09 CST 2008

This subject was discussed a few months ago (around 10/2007). But it was 
rather a discussion about whether to make a PA sound driver or not. I 
personally would love to see that happen, if not only because PA has 
some very nifty features, like per-app volume, transparent sink 
switching etc, some of which are impossible to emulate through the alsa 
pulse plugin. Also, then next Ubuntu and Fedora releases will have PA 
enabled by default so if Wine doesn't work with that well there will be 

I switched my desktop to PA yesterday, got most apps working, and to my 
surprise even flash (netscape 32bit plugin in a 64bit browser). All apps 
that I need use PA natively, only Wine doesn't have a PA sound driver. 
Since winealsa.drv will stay the default driver for Linux for the 
foreseeable future, I started digging and hacking to see why it doesn't 
work with the alsa pulse plugin and what can be fixed. There are a few 
bug reports that track the winealsa.drv/PA issue, such as [1].

There is very little required to make it work. Only two tiny changes to 
the alsa pulse plugin (one can be described as a quirk, until I figure 
out how exactly the alsa API can be emulated using PA, seems to be a 
very specific issue in how Wine uses the alsa API since other apps work 
fine) and sound works perfectly (tested with foobar2000 and WoW, both 
playback and recording). alsa-1.0.16 was just released, so I hope the 
needed changes make it into the next version.

In the PA volume control, all wine apps show up under the same name:
ALSA plug-in [wine-preloader]
and thus share the same volume and sink preferences. The alsa plugin 
could try to do some /proc/self voodoo to extract the true exe name. But 
given the simplicity of the PA API (no hwparams negotiation, just 
request a format and you'll get it) and the current problems with the 
alsa pulse plugin, I think a true wine sound driver would be a viable 
alternative. I'm still waiting to hear from those people who have said 
that they have a wine PA driver working :)



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