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I'm another Linux newbie, and so far, I've had decent success learning some new things on the operating system (may I highly suggest a book called "Moving to Linux: Kiss the Blue Screen of Death Goodbye" by Marcel Gagne -- very well written!)
There are two problems that I've had so far that I have been unable to solve. I have SoundBlaster Live - and have been unable to get the sound to work. (My distro is Mandrake Linux 9.2). Not exactly sure where to start. In the aforementioned book, there is an icon in the lower right hand portion of the screen, near the clock, that has volume control. For whatever reason, I do not have one, nor do I appear able to add it for that matter.
The other question is slightly off-topic: is there any particular reason why I cannot access "Run" from the KDE applications menu? Tried doing an Alt+F2 to pull it up, but to no avail. Seems like a pretty handy thing to have when trying to pull up a quick application. (Perhaps there is a package I need to install that has this?)
What amazes me so far is that I was able to get realplayer/windows media plugins working for mozilla -- and seems something as simple as sound & run are baffling me. LOL
There are a number of misc issues that can affect sound. Off the top of my head, you will want to confirm that the speakers are powered On, that the volume is not muted, that the cable from the CD player is correctly connected to the soundcard, and that the cable from the speakers is plugged into the correct port on you soundcard (most likely the green port). My best advice would be to search LQ for similar threads, because there's a good chance someone will have posted the answer you need.