Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Since I upgraded to Ubuntu 11.10 (oneiric), my pulseaudio tends to crash a few times a day, if I'm listening to music on YouTube. It restarts automatically (as long as I'm using a Unity session -- it doesn't auto-restart if I use GNOME, apparently), but forgets the volume setting (speaker icon shows 'Mute'), which is how I know it crashed. Also I need to reload the browser tab with youtube to make it play sound again.

I'm trying to debug this. When I use a GNOME Shell session instead of Unity, pulseaudio dies and doesn't autorestart. I have to restart it manually in a terminal. (Also, my volume icon disappears and volume keys stop reacting. Even after I restart PA manually.)

This is how I noticed that PA wasn't just crashing -- it was getting killed by a signal (SIGKILL).

EDIT: evidence for this: LANGUAGE=C pulseaudio -vv dies with a message "Nutraukta (Killed)", which ignores my request (LANGUAGE=C) to use English, so I assume it comes from bash and not pulseaudio itself. And $? is equal to 137, which is 128 (killed by a signal) + 9 (SIGKILL).

I haven't figured out a pattern yet. This doesn't happen always -- sometimes I play maybe 10 songs on YouTube and then PA gets killed as I try to watch the 11th. Sometimes it gets killed after a long period of inactivity. Sometimes it gets killed on resume.

Any ideas how I might track who is killing my PA? I intend to file a bug about this, once I figure out what is happening and which program is responsible.

UPDATE: people in #pulseaudio on say it could be a bug in the alsa driver that makes pulseaudio keep rewinding the stream, eating the CPU in a realtime thread, which then gets killed by the kernel for exceeding cputime limits. I'm still trying to reproduce this with verbose pulseaudio debugging enabled.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I've reproduced the issue a few times, once under strace, once with pulseaudio -vvvv. There's nothing suspicious (to me) in any of the logs just before the SIGKILL arrives.

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by James May 21 '12 at 20:43

Questions on Ask Ubuntu are expected to relate to Ubuntu within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Perhaps this question should instead be filed as a bug report? Instructions here. – Jorge Castro Mar 11 '12 at 17:23

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.