Asoundconf for Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick)
The Problem -- no way back, no way forward
After a recent upgrade, I found it necessary to remove PulseAudio from my Ubuntu Maverick (10.10) installation in order for certain programs to continue to work properly. In the past this was easy and painless. This time it turned out to be rather more involved due to some choices by the GNOME and Ubuntu folks.
Note: I also tried pasuspender to alleviate the need for such extensive reconfiguration, but it did not work for my situation.
The Snag -- asoundconf was missing!
Asoundconf, which allows for, among other things, switching the ALSA default card between multiple sound cards on a machine has been removed from the alsa-utils package. Tracking down a simple download link for the asoundconf script wasn't easy. Launchpad posts referenced extracting it from old packages or from bzr. I did that and then encountered errors under the newer version of the OS.
Specifically, I had some trouble with set-default-card where it was throwing "ValueError: too many values to unpack".
After some investigation, I fixed those errors and have uploaded the resulting asoundconf. This file should be placed in /usr/bin so that the (oddly still in the repository) asoundconf-gtk utility can find it.
Daniel Chen, mentioned this needs to be it's own package. I'll probably get around to doing that at some point but until then, I've posted my version here.
While the PulseAudio, GNOME, and Ubuntu fanboys will not like what I have below, take the following into consideration:
I've been using Linux since it was packaged on a 4 cd set from Infomagic in 1995. I was one of the founders of the LUG in Indianapolis, I've been an advocate of Linux and Unix before that for literally decades. A facet of my job as an enterprise architect is to evaluate the architecture and viability of software for a publicly traded company. People like me will be making the decisions as to the viability of FOSS within companies.
Removing the asoundconf utility is simply absurd. Forcing the distribution to only properly function with PulseAudio is absurd. The whole appeal of Linux and FOSS is about the FREEDOM TO CHOOSE, not about lock-in and having to follow the package or distribution maintainer's whims. If I didn't want a choice on what parts/pieces of the OS I wanted to run, I'd be running Windows.