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I seem to be having some issues with my Linux installation, Kubuntu 10.10, and I believe the root cause of these is PulseAudio. I'll be running just fine--music playin' in the background, talking on VoIP with some people--and suddenly those people will start "lagging" over VoIP and the music will start skipping. (I should note that this is just a scenario, it doesn't only happen when I'm on VoIP with music playing, this is just an example.)

This happens totally out of the blue, it'll happen if the computer is sitting unattended with any sort of audio output happening--intermittent or constant, but then it might not happen for a while when I'm running two different virtual machines and coding at the same time. I can't make it happen on demand, but I can fix it once it happens: all I have to do to eliminate the issue is kill PulseAudio and start it again.

I should note that when these problems start happening, everything on the computer seems to slow down. There's a noticeable lag when I'm typing; windows take a lot longer to minimize/restore; any interaction I have with any control takes a while to respond.

One thing I've noticed, and I'm not 100% sure what all this means (any explanation would be appreciated), but PulseAudio's process will show a -11 in top's NI column and a 9 in the PR column. Most processes are 0 in the former, and 20 or RT in the latter.

Any suggestions as to a fix, possibly a cause? Is there any information I can provide to help diagnose this?

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How does system load look? You can use atop -Am to pinpoint what is slowing things down. –  Tobu Nov 28 '10 at 10:46
    
I'll grab a snippet of atop -Am the next time it happens. –  Zack Nov 28 '10 at 21:11
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