An interesting tool I hadn't seen from
It attempts to do some interactive checks. If you haven 't, try running that when the issue occurs. But the checks are worth running any time. I believe the bug information generated will provide the information that the next links ask for. (For example, giving the equivalent of the
alsa-info.sh from fedora. EDIT: Actually, you can find alsa-info.sh here.)
That page has some other good info as well. I think most of the fixes are for constant problems, though, not intermittent ones like you are having.
Two Fedora-Linux wikis have some troubleshooting tips that could be extracted:
From the fedora pages:
The output of
pulseaudio -vvvvv, run
on the command line, is often helpful.
To provide this correctly, first
configure PulseAudio not to respawn
itself automatically when it dies, by
creating a file
with this content:
autospawn = no
Then kill the existing server, with
pulseaudio -k. Now
pulseaudio -vvvvv from a
console, and reproduce your problem.
Provide the whole set of messages from
the console where you ran pulseaudio.
The output of
pacmd ls can also
provide a snapshot of the audio
Application-wise, here's a post (from 2009) mentioning that Skype caused problems for him:
[...] I ran
into some problems with skype (bug
filed). PulseAudio asserts and goes
away probably because of something
Skype does wrong (although one could
argue that PulseAudio shouldn’t break
down completely because of one bad
Of course, there are lot of possible culprits, but knowing that one of your apps has in the past caused problems is at least encouraging (or discouraging, if you want).
Long shot -- check your CPU time for the pulseaudio process -- noticed this from the manpage:
Do not install CPU load limiter on platforms that support it. By default, PulseAudio will terminate itself when
it notices that it takes up too much
CPU time. This is useful as a
protection against system lockups when
real-time scheduling is used [....]