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Originally posted by PTrenholme Forgive my curiosity , please, but what do you mean "at the same time?" Do you have several users connected to you box via TTY? Or two keyboards? Perhaps two soundcards?
Anyhow, just how do you expect the "accounts" to "use the sound system" at the same time? Are you perhaps running a job in one account whilst running an interachive session in another?
I have multiple accounts on one computer. Sometimes my friend puts things on hold in his account so I can go to my account to do things. But when I'm in my account, I can't get the sound or CD burner to work because his account is still logged in. With Windows I was able to have 3 accounts open, listen to sound in all 3 of them, burn CDs, etc. I was wondering if this was also possible in Linux, or can Linux only handle one open account at a time?
Ah, I see. I believe that MS only permits one "active" user, so they terminate non-disk access for "swapped-out" users. (An oversimplification, but . . .)
Anyhow, Unix was designed as a multi-user system, with a "resource lock" protocol so that different users could take turns using system resources. The point is that your friend has "locked" the sound card, and not released it for your use. Perhaps also the CD.
You don't mention which sound system driver you're using. (ALSA, OSS, ???)
ALSA has a "fullduplex" setting that might help. But the obvious thing would be for you friend to terminate any processes using the sound system (games, movies, terminal sounds, etc.) before relinquishing control to you. (I assume this is done by you doing a "login" from a command prompt in his workspace? If he logged out, the resources would be unlocked.)
If you have another (cheap) PC, you might consider setting it up as an terminal accessing your Linux system, with it's own sound system, CD, etc. Then you could both use yous system at the same time.
Anyhow, the bottom line is, as I said, that Unix was designed to support multiple users on the same system. (A "time-shared" system.) M$ is a single-user "personal" system. So M$ can unlock resources when a "switch user" action is started. Unix doesn't have a "switch user" function, since multiple users are the norm, and a "switch" would be meaningless.
Perhaps some here can offer better advice. (As I said, I was puzzled.) I don't have any answerers for you. Sorry.