Bad user experience with volume keys and Xubuntu
I recently took Xubuntu for a test drive. One of the most annoying problems I encountered was with the multimedia keys. They didn't work at all out of the box. Following some helpful guides, which were probably wrong, I eventually half-fixed it.
First I had to install xfce4-mixer, because it wasn't installed.
Then I had to run xfce4-mixer manually, because the sound settings indicator opens the pulse audio settings.
Then I had to manually "select controls..." (pictured) the sound card mixers (pictured) that I wanted to control in the mixer settings. This was confusing as there was no indication of why I was adding them yet, and just adding them did nothing obviously useful. By default no controls were added and there are multiple audio hardware on this system.
Next I had to open xfce settings editor (pictured) and manually enter the name of the sound card I wanted the keys to control. Again, this was not documented so I had to work on trial and error. Without xfce4-mixer installed, these keys don't exist.
Now finally the keys sort of work. Volume up and down works, mute works, but pressing mute a second time does not unmute the sound, nor does volume up/down.
Additionally, sometimes the mixer that needs to be controlled switches between "HDA ATI SB Alsa Mixer" and "Playback Built In Analogue Stereo Pulse Audio Mixer" with no obvious indication of why. When this happens I have to go into the settings editor again and change the "Active Card" manually.
All in all this leads to a very poor user experience compared to what is in standard Ubuntu desktop, which just works.
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 12.10
Package: xfce4-mixer 1:4.8.0-3ubuntu2
Uname: Linux 3.5.0-18-generic x86_64
Date: Sun Dec 2 23:50:52 2012
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)