And There Goes Sound.

UPDATE: Boy is my face red. Sound was fine the whole time. While I was moving the computer I unplugged the speakers. When I plugged them back in, I plugged in the wrong set of speakers. I recently got a new set of speakers (thanks Mom) and the old ones were still nearby and unplugged, and the cord looks exactly like the one from the new set… and I plugged in the old set. Which were not plugged into the power outlet. So sound was working perfectly and was being piped to inert speakers. As for the wireless, I’m going to theorize that the connection was poor cause it was too far away. It got bad when I moved the base station significantly far away. It’s wired now and I’m not worrying about it.
Overall, I retract my frustration about Linux sound. This had nothing to do with Linux, it was just me being a dork. Sound in the 2.6 kernels seems pretty smooth. I must apologize to Linux, and thank my anonymous commenter for keeping the faith.

I hate Linux sound. It’s a gigantic mess.

Mysteriously, the sound on my Ubuntu system started working a while back.

Mysteriously, it doesn’t work now.

I have no idea how to begin to debug it.

No idea.

I don’t have that kind of time in my life.

Maybe I should try the newer, more bleeding edge version of Ubuntu. I dunno.

I just don’t know.

UPDATE: I know it would be a bit much to ask, but my old USB external CDR/W doesn’t seem to work either. All the unix cd burning utilities still depend on the hideously archaic “pretend any CD burner is a SCSI device” technique, and apparently Ubuntu isn’t hip to that. I know it was asking a lot to want my old external USB CDR/W to work, but… it would have been nice.

UPDATE: did I mention that wireless connectivity using ndiswrapper periodically flakes out too? Just plain doesn’t work sometimes, even though it reports having a good signal? Disappointing. Disappointing.

A lot of things *do* work on it, but the networking is a real problem, the sound is really annoying, and the usb burner — well, that’s just a minor disappointment. It’s got really pretty screensavers though.

12 thoughts on “And There Goes Sound.”

  1. Couple things. Make sure the sound module is loaded. If it worked before and you have not changed the configuration, then I am sure it is a module loading issue. Also, the 2.6.x series of kernels (which, I believe, Ubuntu uses) now do the right thing with cd burners so scsi emulation is no longer needed. If you are trying to use SCSI emulation, it will not work.

  2. The sound module is still loaded. I checked.

    What I was trying to use was the stock out of the box cdrecord, which thinks there are no cd burners present.

  3. Does Ubuntu use ALSA or OSS for sound? The easiest way to tell is the ALSA drivers start with ‘snd_xxx.’ On my system I have snd_sb16 (and a host of other snd_xxx modules). At one time there was a problem with ALSA not restoring the mixer levels. This gave the impression that sound was not working when it was actually just turned down so low it could not be heard. Have you tried adjusting the levels via a mixer? If you are running ALSA, try alsamixer. It is a console app that is very simple to use.

    There is a kernel issue for version 2.6.8 that makes cdrecord fail. Versions 2.6.7 and 2.6.9 (etc) do not seem to have this problem. The SUID bit does not work (which means you *must* run cdrecord as root…this is stupid). Some seem to have some success with an updated (cdrecord_2.0+a38-1ubuntu1_i386.deb) cdrecord. Are you running cdrecord as root proper? Have you run ‘cdrecord –scanbus’? This checks for ‘attached devices’.

  4. It uses ALSA and esd. The volume was fine, if the GNOME volume control is any indication. I am using 2.6.8, so maybe that is the cdrecord problem. I did try ‘scanbus’ and it failed; that’s why I concluded that I was out of luck. (It failed to find the /dev/pg* devices, whatever they are).

  5. It is my understanding (things may have changed though) that ALSA and
    esd do not play well together. I would try killing esd and running
    alsaconf and alsamixer (to verify the master and pcm settings).
    Regarding the cd burner, you may want to upgrade either the kernel or
    the cdrecord package. Does Ubuntu use devfs or udev? If it uses udev
    a rule may not have been created yet for detecting and creating the
    appropriate node in /dev (hence the error messages about /dev/pg*).

  6. I tried creating some devices, but may have created the wrong ones… I’m not going to stress about the cd burner right now. It would be nice to have sound back.

    ESD and ALSA are the default sound configuration for ubuntu. They were working together before, so I would assume they are able to play nice. May or may not be the case though.

  7. So are esd and ALSA running together? I have been unable to get them to play together on my Debian box.

  8. ESD and alsa are running together when GNOME is running. esd starts up for GNOME and shuts off when I log out. Sound works with or without esd running.

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