Bug#541538: pulseaudio: disable flat volumes

Boris Pek tehnick at debian.org
Wed Jan 31 13:29:14 UTC 2018

control: severity 541538 grave
justification: (physically) harms users

Hi Roland,

> I came here because I was just playing [1] on headphones, and Firefox
> seemed to think that it would be a good idea to set the master volume to
> 100%. My ears are still ringing.

You are not the only one who has faced with such unpleasant experience.

> At least now I know what to do.
> The fix of changing "flat-volumes = yes" to "flat-volumes = no" in
> /etc/pulse/daemon.conf seems to be fairly easy to implement,

Yes, the fix for a problem is very easy and it could be found in Google
very quickly. Probably, this is the main reason why it is considered
as not very important.

Personally I added this fix to my installation script very long time ago.
This script I use for installation of Debian for my relatives, friends and
acquaintances. Also I always warn about this bug new Debian users in XMPP
group chats and at forums, where I am registered.

>From my point of view this bug is significantly harming to image of Debian
amongst users of desktop systems.

I have asked users of other GNU/Linux distributions what default value is
used in their system and after the check all of them replied that
"flat-volumes" is set to "no". Here is the list of tested distributions:
Ubuntu (including Kubuntu and other builds)
Linux Mint (Linux Mint Debian Edition was not tested though)
Arch Linux (including Manjaro Linux)
Alt Linux

Especially funny that this option is set to "no" by default even in Fedora,
the distro which is used by the main pulseaudio developers as far as I know.

> considering
> the fact that this bug is blocking a great number of other bugs, and no
> one here apparently has to say any word against it in the comments. Is
> there something else blocking it?

As far as I see the real problem is that maintainers of the package do not
consider this problem as bug in pulseaudio but as bug in all third-party

Dear pulseaudio maintainers, please change the default value of
"flat-volumes" to "no". It is not possible to fix all other applications
which cause to problems on user side.

Best regards,

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