Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
When I was installing and testing Mandriva 2010 Cooker (new development) releases this last Fall season, I kept having persistent problems with sound. Eventually, the advice in the Mandriva Cooker forum for KDE users became: "Disable Pulseaudio, and set Xine as the preferred back end over GStreamer (in the KDE multimedia settings).
Unlike the latest 'buntu, Mandriva does supply a checkbox in their Control Center Sound configuration utility to enable/disable Pulseaudio.
Then Mandriva 2010 final came out, and Pulseaudio more or less works, (and GStreamer works fine for the KDE back end). Some users report that flash videos have no sound with Pulseaudio enabled. Certainly there's some sound lag with Pulseaudio.
Today I was listening to the latest tllts podcast (The Linux Link Tech Show). Tllts member Patrick Davila started his "rant" segment, and said:
Pulseaudio sucks. The experiment [with Pulseaudio] has gone far too long. It's time to admit that it's a f*ing failure and every implementation sucks. The guy who runs it [Pulseaudio]--any time anybody tries to talk to him, is very negative and tells you you're an idiot. Canonical should hire Paul Davis, the developer of Jack and Ardour and Jack should become the default sound daemon."
What do you think? I tend to agree with Davila, however Linux sound is not my area of expertise. But I've certainly been plagued and frustrated over the years with Linux sound issues, and Pulseaudio seems to make things worse.