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From what I can understand then Pulse Audio have to be started for each user.

Why isn't Pulse Audio just a daemon that is started at boot time?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

PulseAudio is a dameon - it forks off and goes into the background, listening for events and responding to them (the fact that it is started when you log in and killed when you log out does not alter the essential daemon-ness of its existence :).

PulseAudio is not a system daemon by default, but that seems to be a matter of configuration (see http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1108742 for some info on that). From what I can glean from some quick poking around it appears that when invoked as a system daemon you need to fiddle with group memberships and permissions to make the audio stuff behave nicely.

Marking as CW in case someone with more experiene with PulseAudio / sound on *NIX systems wants to fill in some of the gaps. Most of my *NIX machines don't have sound cards...

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