Sound only available to one application at a time with ALSA under KDE4 on openSUSE
First, if this is in the wrong forum, I apologise. I wasn't sure whether it counted more as a software or hardware issue, so I put it here because it seemed broader. Now, onto the problem.
My sound system is only available to one application at a time. That is, if I start one application (e.g. Audacity) it has unfettered access to input and output, but if I start a second (e.g. LMMS) then it does not have access. If one application is accessing ALSA, no other can.
The exception is that if one application (e.g. flash) is accessing output but not input, then another can access input.
I'm running openSUSE 11.3 with KDE and ALSA.
I have Jack installed but have no idea whatsoever how to use it. It boggles my mind.
My sound card is onboard, Realtek ALC889A. I'm not sure how to identify it beyond that. I do also have a very old sound blaster card, but it's not currently in use.
I'm totally lost. I don't know what log files might shed light, or anything. I've tried to understand how Linux/ALSA works with sound and I just can not get a grip on it.
Please feel free to ask for more information, but please also tell me how to find it.
My thanks to anyone with any ideas.