Why you should care about PulseAudio (and how to start doing it)

The sound server PulseAudio is a relative newcomer to the Linux audio arena, but since it has been selected as the default setup in the next releases of at least two major distributions (Fedora and Ubuntu), it's probably time to start looking into it.

The audio system options in Linux can be a bit confusing. The projects (ALSA, OSS, ESD, aRts, JACK, and GStreamer, to name a few) all describe themselves in broad, similar terms, and the panoply of packages reads like a circular mix-and-match game -- alsaplayer-esd, libesd-alsa, alsa-oss, alsaplayer-jack, gstreamer-alsa, gstreamer-esd, and so on. It can be difficult to tell how all the pieces fit together.