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PulseAudio 12.0 release notes (draft)

Changes at a glance

  • New module: module-always-source
  • When using passthrough for compressed audio, set the "non-audio" bit
  • HSP support for more bluetooth headsets
  • Steelseries Arctis 7 USB headset stereo output support
  • Dell Thunderbolt Dock TB16 speaker jack support
  • Fixed digital input support for some USB sound cards
  • State files not any more readable by all users in the system mode

Notes for end users

New module: module-always-source

The new module makes sure that there's always at least one non-monitor source available in the system. If you're running into situations where there are no "proper" input devices, and you'd rather use a null source that only produces silence as the default input device rather than a monitor source that copies the audio from the default output, this is for you.

module-always-source is not loaded by default.

When using passthrough for compressed audio, set the "non-audio" bit

When playing compressed audio through S/PDIF or HDMI, it should be indicated that the data is not normal uncompressed audio, otherwise the receiver might play some horrible noise. It seems that PulseAudio never set the "non-audio" bit properly. There hasn't been any complaints about this until recently, so apparently receivers generally detect compressed audio pretty well even without the "non-audio" bit being set, but in any case, now PulseAudio does set that bit.

HSP support for more bluetooth headsets

When connecting a bluetooth headset, the headset sends a list of features that it supports. Headsets can indicate HSP support in two different ways, but PulseAudio used to recognize only one way, so to PulseAudio it seemed that some headsets didn't support HSP even when in reality they did. Now both kinds of headsets are supported.

Steelseries Arctis 7 USB headset stereo output support

The headset is unusual in that it presents itself as two output devices: a mono device (meant for voice audio) and a stereo device (for everything else), and both devices have separate volume control at the hardware level. PulseAudio used to make only the mono device available by default, now both devices can be used at the same time.

Dell Thunderbolt Dock TB16 speaker jack support

TB16 has a speaker jack that PulseAudio didn't previously make available by default. That has now been fixed.

Fixed digital input support for some USB sound cards

Some USB sound cards require the "PCM Capture Source" control in the ALSA mixer to be set to "IEC958 In" in order to be able to record from the digital input, but PulseAudio didn't do that. Now it does.

State files not any more readable by all users in the system mode

PulseAudio used to set the process umask to 022. That meant that the state files that PulseAudio writes on disk were readable by all users when running PulseAudio in the "system mode", i.e. only one instance that all users share. Now the umask is 077, so users can't read the state files any more, which is a slight improvement in privacy, because the state files might contain e.g. information about what applications users use.

The umask change also affects the file permissions in the default setup where each user runs their own PulseAudio instance, but in that mode the files are written in a directory that other users can't access, so there shouldn't be any practical difference.

Notes for application developers

Nothing here yet...

Notes for packagers

Nothing here yet...

git shortlog

TODO