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[Discuss] Help with Ubuntu audio (newcomer)

On 12/18/2011 09:53 PM, Daniel Barrett wrote:
> Hello - I just joined this mailing list. I live in Boston and am the author
> of several O'Reilly books about Linux & open source, including "Linux
> Pocket Guide" and "SSH, The Secure Shell: The Definitive Guide."
> I am seeking help getting audio working on my Kubuntu 10.04 system. Ever
> since upgrading the system from a rather old version (7.10), audio has been
> broken, either not playing at all, or playing only in some programs but not
> others. Right now I have no sound at all. I posted full details in the
> Ubuntu forums:
> but never got any responses.  Sometimes I can get sound by deleting
> ~/.pulse and ~/.pulse-cookie, logging out, and logging back in. But the
> solution doesn't last. Other times I run Amarok and, lo and behold, sound
> starts working everywhere. Temporarily.

The preferred way to stop pulseaudio is
pulseaudio -k

The preferred way to start is is
pulseaudio --start

> As a long-time Linux guy, I am frustrated and, frankly, embarrassed that I
> cannot get this working. I gratefully welcome any advice on getting audio

It's not you.  I feel pulseaudio was a half (or less) baked idea that
was shoved into nearly every distribution while still at the alpha
level, was not documented in the least for a very long time, and gave
very little diagnostic information.  It was put in place due to changes
in the kernel making it possible for only one program to use sound at a
time.  So *something* was necessary, but not this.  It *has* gotten much
better, but...

> working in:
> - General programs
> - Firefox plugins (e.g., YouTube videos)

Some apps may be using pulseaudio, and some may not.  That's part of the
problem.  However, if you have some applications that you know use
pulseaudio working, and some that you know use pulseaudio not working,
the first place to start is the Pulseaudio Volume Control (NOT installed
by default in some distributions), and use to list each
application/stream's volumes.  Sometimes the configuration for an app
will spontaneously change.  That happened to me last week when all of a
sudden mplayer wouldn't play sounds.

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