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Ok, so I've done my searching and seem to have a unique problem... but I hope not, because I'm hoping someone here can help me.
I have Mandrake 10.0 and KDE 3.2-79 (kdebase3.2-79mdk + all the other usual KDE packages).
So, sounds will play - audacity, xmms, etc. I use Mozilla, and if I use Mozilla for email, it'll play a sound when an email arrives. If I use the "Configure Desktop" application, I can select Sound->Sound System. I go to the "General" tab. I press the "Test Sound" button and the usual startup sound plays. However, no sound actually plays on startup and no KDE event notifications play at all. Yes, I've got them turned on...
So, using "Configure Desktop" I can go from "Sounds->Sound System" and succesfully "test" a sound, to the "LookNFeel->System Notifications", select a sound, and press the "play" button, and don't hear a thing. Kontact won't play a sound on arrival of a message, the start up sound doesn't play...
It doesn't matter wether I select alsa or oss. artsd is started and running.
I can post the hardware, but it doesn't seem like it should matter at this point since KDE *will* play a sound while testing the sound setup from the "Sound System" screen.
Distribution: Usually Linux Mint, Debian, Ubuntu or CentOS
my first action would be to see if these sound files are .ogg as opposed to .wav. i had a problem where it wouldnt play any ogg vorbis files (i think it is possible to sort this out quite easily but see if this is the problem or not first.)
if that fails, try reinstalling alsa and sound programs.
Thanks for your reply... if I feel like spending all the time to rip out and reinstall all the sounds, I may try that suggestion...
At least some of the files I'm playing are not ogg... the odd thing is I can select the sound system, test a sound and it works, then go up the configuration tree to notifications, and when I try to play a sound there it doesn't work...
I'm having the exact same problem. If I hit test sound in the KDE control panel it works fine. Using aRts control tool (Sound+Video --> More ... --> arts control) it shows normal volume changes when using the test, or xmms in aRts output mode, but when using the play button under system notifications or by closing/opening/whatever a window, nothing shows up. It is as if the "play sound" message is getting lost when sent that way.
As a temporary/permanent hack type fix (assuming it is like my problem), you can probably just go to player settings and select use external player. Then type "artsplay" (no quotes) into the text box and try that.