PulseAudio 2.0 makes better use of modern hardware features
The recently released PulseAudio 2.0 offers improved support for the jack detection feature that is available in modern sound hardware. If a user is running Linux kernels from version 3.3 and connects, for example, a second set of stereo speakers, the audio framework will detect this and offer separate volume controls along with other features. The PulseAudio developers plan to add further improvements in the future, for example to simplify the configuration of multi-channel environments.
The new version of PulseAudio, a component that is involved in the audio output of almost all mainstream Linux distributions, also supports alternate sample rates. If the hardware offers the required functionality, this technology can avoid the potential need to resample during audio output or reduce the resulting overhead; this is designed to reduce CPU loads and therefore decrease power consumption. Another new feature is support for audio hardware that is paravirtualised with Xen. Additionally, the echo cancellation that is used to reduce noise in Voice-over-IP (VoIP) connections, for instance, has now been implemented via WebRTC. This new implementation is thought to be better and faster than the previously used code.
The release notes provide some background on the new features in version 2.0 – the first major release since version 1.1 which was introduced six months ago. In future, the developers plan to release new versions every four months. PulseAudio is licensed under the LGPLv2.1 or later and more information on the project is available on the freedesktop.org web site.