TL,WR: I want to read about sound in Mint from a developer's perspective: what packages are installed, and how they are configured by default, and what APIs are available to me by default, and by special install.
I have done some reading about sound in Linux, and it is not at all a clear picture, in the sense that since there are many ways things *could* be done, I have no idea how sound is actually handled by default in Mint.
I posted yesterday that I want to find a way to "lock down" my audio settings, and there have been no replies whatsoever - I assume because nobody who's read it has any more of an idea than I do, or because those who do have an idea missed or have not read the post yet. In the meantime, I'd like to do some reading on my own, and perhaps solve the problem myself. Googling, however, is next to useless, because all I get are tutorials on how to do a specific thing: get skype working, install an app, etc. There is precious little in terms of meat and potatoes audio infrastructure out there, and every indication that there are many improvements to be made in this area.
I have found one small ray of hope, which is here: http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Softwar ... ultDevice/
I gather from this page that my problem with my default device, at least as far as pulseaudio is concerned, is simply to stop the service, erase a file, start it up again, and make sure to set the fallback device correctly.
So I immediately executed sudo service --status-all | grep pulse, and found that pulseaudio is not, in fact, running:
[ - ] pulseaudio
So that puts me back at square one - either something else is running on top of, or underneath, or in some way controlling, pulseaudio. Whatever the case, step 1 of the only solution to my problem that I've found - that I want my chosen sound devices to stay in place - cannot be executed, so I tend to doubt that going through the process they describe, and starting up the PA server which is not running in the first place, is going to solve my problem.
Again, what I want is for my chosen input and output - both the built-in audio on my motherboard - remain as default choices, except where I assign differently. This will enable me to use my good monitors for music, my good mic for recording screencasts, and my crap speakers and crap webcam for skype, all at once.
I gather that this is totally doable with pulseaudio, but I have no idea whether Mint has got something else installed that I first need to deal with. The fact that PA is not currently running suggests this to be the case, but I can't seem to find any documents online that explain how Mint handles audio processes. I was initially hoping to just get my settings stabilized how I like them, but now I want to understand the whole system, but I cannot find that information, and my Linux Fu is still just a yellow belt at best.