Ubuntu and Multimedia (audio, in particular)
cgrigs at earthlink.net
Wed Jan 11 01:36:35 UTC 2006
Michael Richter wrote:
> I've just found with the "killer app" for Ubuntu. And by "killer app" I
> mean "the app that kills any chance of widespread adoption". That
> application is multimedia.
> Let me first explain my setup. I have a laptop -- a Sony -- with a built-in
> sound system. It stinks, so I also have an external Sound Blaster (USB).
> Ubuntu recognises both sound systems and loads drivers for them. It then
> plays setup games so damned frustrating that it basically renders my system
> completely worthless as a multimedia platform. Here's what happens.
> 1) Despite my setting the default sound card in System->Preferences->Sound
> to my Sound Blaster, the only thing that reliably plays sounds out to the
> Sound Blaster are the system event notifications. I get nice, loud, clear
> sound events going out to my speakers for GAIM and for menus opening and
> closing, not to mention sporadically (yes, sporadically) getting sounds when
> windows open and close.
> 2) Totem, in particular, will play at random to my Sound Blaster or to my
> internal sound card (and crappy laptop speakers, of course.) There doesn't
> seem to be any rhyme nor reason to which one it chooses. I can click on the
> same movie file a dozen times and half the time it will play to the Sound
> Blaster and half the time it will play to the crappy system. And it's not
> alternating either. It may play to one three times in succession and then
> play to the other once and back again. It's ridiculous.
> 3) This point #2 applies only, of course, when Totem bothers to play sounds at
> all. Because on some files it will complain that the audio device is "busy"
> and ask me if another application is using it. Here it is reliably on
> individual files. I can play one file, get the random switching behaviour
> described above and then click on one of the "death" files and have it
> complain that the audio device -- note: the audio device it was just
> using!-- is "busy" and "in use by another application". Needless to
> say I can't
> persuade it that the device in question is not, in fact, busy. It just pops
> up the dialog and refuses... well, dialogue. And what is the difference
> between the movies that it can't play and the movies that it can (at random,
> albeit)? Well, you got me. They're all -- every single one -- AVIs encoded
> in Xvid. No tools I have access to show any kind of difference between
> Now for comparison, let me explain to you how these files worked under
> Windows -- going all the way back to Windows 98. (Yes, back to an OS that
> was released seven years ago.)
> 1) I set up my system by installing the appropriate codecs (just like I had
> to in Ubuntu) and telling it which sound card is used by default.
> 2) I play the movies.
> 3) The audio invariably goes out the correct sound card and never complains
> about the device being busy.
> When I demonstrate Ubuntu to people I'm hoping to persuade to use, how
> persuasive do you think that dialog that claims the sound card is busy is
> going to be? Or the random switch between sound systems?
> Now some practical questions:
> - How do I tell Ubuntu to ignore the damned internal sound card once
> and for all? You know, to pretend the thing isn't even there? To not even
> load the drivers for it? I suspect that would save me from the "randomly
> switching between sound cards" problem.
> - How do I persuade Totem that the sound card it just used a few
> seconds ago without any difficulties isn't suddenly unavailable?
> - How do I find out what the big difference is between the files that
> make Totem choke and the files which only make Totem randomly switch between
> sound cards?
> - Where can I get multimedia players for Linux that work without the
> headaches and hassles -- kind of like I've been finding under Windows since
> Win98? (I thought the bazaar was supposed to be more responsive and
> flexible than the cathedral!)
Does your BIOS allow you to disable the onboard sound?
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