About Sound System

Chris Warburton chriswarbo at googlemail.com
Thu Aug 30 16:01:06 UTC 2007

On Thu, 2007-08-30 at 18:48 +0300, nick nick wrote:
> Guys i wonder why should simple users of ubuntu know how to setup
> their sound servers and drivers in order to use at the same time
> programs that use their sound card?I think the whole sound system
> after the system installation should be pre-configured in a way that
> would not require from the user to configure his programs  whatever
> driver/audio server they use/require(might use a kind of emulator or a
> more clever audio server?), is that possible to implement? (I'm not
> sure if this post goes here it's just a short complaint)

This was a problem when OSS (open sound system) was the only way to get
sound in Linux. To get around this KDE came up with ARTS (I forget what
it stands for) and GNOME came up with ESD (enlightened sound daemon).
Then the kernel got ALSA (advanced Linux sound architecture) which gave
solved the OSS issue of only having one sound device, but also featured
OSS emulation for programs which need it. These days we have these
things running on top of each other (ALSA and ESD for GNOME, ALSA and
ARTS for KDE), and mixing desktop environments can run all of them (for
instance I use Kopete, KDE's messaging program, in GNOME, which means
I'm running ESD and ARTS on top of ALSA).

These usually play nice together, and it is only for specific cases like
games and sometimes Flash that things can go wrong (usually it is
proprietary software like that which doesn't work with the newer
systems, although I think Audacity still relies on OSS and stops other
programs making sound). To get around this we now have yet another sound
server, called PulseAudio, which can emulate ESD if needed.

PulseAudio sounds great on paper, but I tried installing it on a Feisty
system and it ended up stopping all sounds from everything unless I ran
"killall pulseaudio", so let's just hope that this does a better job
than all of the previous attempts....

Chris Warburton

PS: I'm not an expert on this or anything, I've just been around for a
while and suffered through all the problems of each system :)

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