True, I’ve had many issues with ‘PulseAudio’ with my previous, old, laptop. But it is working really well under the Vostro V131 notebook, and this time, I have no plans of getting rid of it :D.
Anyway, though ‘PulseAudio’ is a separate project, Ubuntu developers too have done a lot of work integrating ‘PulseAudio’ into the OS and making it user friendly.
Take ‘indicator-sound’ icon for example. It lets you access a lot of ‘PulseAudio’ sound server related options to easily getting access to some utilities that use it (such as ‘Rhythmbox’) etc. Plus, they have also integrated it with Ubuntu’s built-in notification message system (‘Notify OSD’), for indicating some of its events as well.
Speaking of its user-friendliness, though I discovered it quite recently, there is a simple ‘trick’ that you can use to easily up/down the volume in ‘PulseAudio’.
For example, let’s say that you had ‘Rhythmbox’ playing something from the background while browsing the web, and wanted to quickly lower the volume, without ever touching neither ‘Rhythmbox’ nor the ‘indicator-sound’ icon (clicking) that resides in the system tray area.
For those of you who have not heard, then all you have to do is, simply put your mouse pointer over the ‘indicator-sound’ icon, then use the scroll wheel, and the volume will go up or down.
Now, as the volumes changes, the ‘indicator-icon’ does display the levels using the built-in, ‘three, half-circular-lines’. Still, it does not indicate subtle or small changes.
Luckily though, we can use a small trick, that enables the default ‘Notify OSD’ volume level indicator (the one that shows up when you change the volume levels using your keyboard) for this ‘event’ too, as it includes these subtle changes.
If interested, you can use the below command in your Terminal for enabling it.
gsettings set com.canonical.indicator.sound show-notify-osd-on-scroll true
That’s it (no need to logout or restart the computer).
Note: This surely works in Ubuntu 12.10, might also work in 12.04 LTS too, not sure about other versions though.