"/dev/dsp is in use by another program"

Derek Broughton news at pointerstop.ca
Thu Apr 6 16:09:34 UTC 2006

Gavin Dudley wrote:

> Hi everyone. As a Linux newbie I have found this list invaluable,
> thanks.
> I am unable to get my Amorok media player working because it throws an
> error "/dev/dsp is already in use by another program". I have no other
> multimedia apps running, but I suspect that it may be related to
> Firefox. Is that possible/likely?

In KDE, programs _should_ not be writing to /dev/dsp directly - that's why
we have the arts daemon.  Two things will help - first, look for
configuration options in Amarok to use ALSA (which should avoid /dev/dsp
completely) and/or ARTS (which routes output through the daemon, which
handles sharing); the second is to lower the timeout in the KDE "Sound &
Multimedia"/"Sound System" settings.  Set "auto suspend if idle after" to <
10 seconds (mine is set to 2 without any problems, so far).  This lets
artsd let go of the sound card when it isn't using it, so that any program
that insists on exclusive use can have it.

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