[ubuntu-uk] sound problem

Martin Meredith mez at ubuntu.com
Sun Dec 28 10:35:36 GMT 2008

On Sat, Dec 27, 2008 at 11:06:22PM +0000, Paul Sutton wrote:
> Hi
> Under ubuntu 8.10 running gnome and amarok media player I have just lost 
> my sound,  it was playing then just stopped. but amarok indicates the 
> song is stil playing but I can't hear anything (no i have not muted 
> it),  if I then exit and reload amarok i get the following
> Audio output unavailable; the device is busy.
> xine parameters:
> any idea what this means, or could point to?
> I get sound back if i log out then back in again,  i have googled this 
> and changed my sound to alsa, but it's still happening.

Generally, this happens when an application which doesn't know about 
alsa/dmix/pulse/whatever system you're using takes over the sound card and keeps 
the sound card open. This means that no other application can output to the 
sound card, which was a major issue in linux previously, and is the reason why 
alsa/dmix/pulse/arts/etc were invented. 

Personally, I find that flash is the biggest culprit in this.

Try closing a few applications, and when your sound starts working again, this 
is the app that's causing the problems. If it has sound configuration options, 
play with those (use alsa or pulse if available - don't use OSS - that's what 
causes the issues!) and see if you can find a configuration that stops this 
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