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Old 02-16-2005, 12:03 AM   #1
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Minnesota, USA
Distribution: Debian, Mepis
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Configuring sound

Sorry for the vague title, but I'm totally confused about sound in Linux. You have ALSA and OSS, esd and arts, and Gnome's sound wrapper. I don't get how they all fit together.

Currently, only one program can play sound at once. I just ran alsaconf. Now GAIM will play sound if I set output to 'automatic,' and xmms will play sound if I set it to use ALSA, but they won't work at the same time. In Gstreamer it is set to use OSS; that and 'custom' are the only options. I'm just confused about all the different sound options in different locations and would like some advice. Sorry I'm being vague.
Old 02-16-2005, 01:33 AM   #2
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Alsa and OSS are different sets of soundcard drivers. Alsa is the preferred modern architecture.

If your soundcard doesn't support hardware mixing (not many of them do) you will need to use a sound server to mix sounds from different sources/programs to one output which is streamed to the soundcard. esound (Gnome/Enlightenment standard) and Arts (KDE standard) are examples of sound servers.

To me it sounds like you need to install, or perhaps just start, a sound server. Point xmms and other programs to use your sound server and you should be OK.

Old 02-16-2005, 09:19 AM   #3
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Minnesota, USA
Distribution: Debian, Mepis
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OK, thanks. I'm currently using Gnome, so ESD sounds like what I want. I changed it to 'Enable sound server startup.' Now xmms and GAIM will both play sound at once, using esd. Browser plugins such as java and flash don't play sound anymore, but they did before. I used 'dpkg-reconfigure mozilla-browser' and chose the esddsp wrapper.

In the Gnome multimedia streams selector, it's currently using OSS, and the only other option is custom (I type the name of the streams). I have alsa installed, though, and if I run alsaconf then only programs set to use alsa will play sound until I restart my computer. Is it worth it to figure out how to use ALSA instead of OSS?

Thank you.

Last edited by nagromo; 02-16-2005 at 09:21 AM.
Old 02-23-2005, 11:17 PM   #4
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Minnesota, USA
Distribution: Debian, Mepis
Posts: 65

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Does anyone have any ideas? It's nice that Gaim and xmms work at the same time, but I would like sound in DosBox and my browser plugins, too. Here's the command line output of DosBox:

morgan@morgan-deb:/mnt/fat/morgan/downloads/dos$ dosbox .
CONFIG: Using default settings. Create a configfile to change them
MIXER:Can't open audio: No available audio device , running in nosound mode.
ALSA lib seq_hw.c:446snd_seq_hw_open) open /dev/snd/seq failed: No such file or directory
ALSA:Can't open sequencer
MIDI:Opened device:none
Is it looking for a midi sequencer? I have integrated AC 97 audio; I don't think I have a hardware midi sequencer.

I had the same problem when trying to play midi files with kmid; it can't open /dev/sequencer. Other audio programs won't even recognize midi files. Wouldn't a software sequencer be a relatively easy solution?



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