My first post was not about pulseaudio itself, but about pulseaudio becoming mandatory in next GNOME version (the situation about this improved, the old mixer applet is back in svn).
I did not want to reply to Lennart's reply to my second post, as I don't want losing one week talking about it, that won't solve anything. I resisted yesterday but there are two parts I feel I have to answer so I'll try to make it short.
The first is the sentence then folks will complain: "Oh my god, it doesn't work with my software/drivers, you suck!" -- like you just did (though in more polite words).. No I did not. I don't think "you suck!", I complained about it becoming mandatory now while it still fails for a quite important number of users. It's not about my machine, I know how to deal with it even if I will lose some time because of that. It's about having tens of thousand of users of next GNOME version who, when they will manage to get sound working fine by disabling pulseaudio, will find that they no longer have mixer applet and their keyboard's volume keys no longer work.
The second point is The list of cards that are currently known to be problematic are listed in our Wiki.. I went to that page and was shocked. "snd-intel-hda on Realtek chips", doesn't this mean most (maybe all) dell laptops sold over the last few years ? And "snd-intel8x0", almost all laptops sold before that (including my Thinkpad) ? I think this list matches about 30% or 40% of people, while I was thinking that less than 10% of people have issues with pulseaudio. So, you are actually telling me that pulseaudio should actually not be used by default now while I was in favor of using it...