Ubuntu Update

Posted: Friday, June 8, 2007 by El Guru in Blogs, Firefox, Fx 2.0, Ubuntu

It has been a while since I have been into Ubuntu. I think the last time I was on was around Memorial Day when the Kernel update caused problems with Fx 2.0.0.3. Today I went back in and updated the Kernel again and went to Fx 2.0.0.4. Fx is running smoothly now.

So my next issue to tackle was the on again/off again sound. Looking through some troubleshooting sites for Ubuntu Sound issues I came across the site: Debugging Sound Problems. Keep in mind my system came with a built-in sound chip on the motherboard but I had added my own SoundBlaster PCI512/Live! Card. I figured out the problem once I read this:

Most sound applications output to card0 by default. In some cases, other audio devices (like a USB MIDI Keyboard) might be recognized as a soundcard and take card0, bumping your real soundcard to card1. cat /proc/asound/cards to see which devices are connected to which cards.

I launched the terminal and ran the ‘cat /proc/asound/cards'
command and here is what I discovered:

Turns out card0 was being detected as the on-board sound chip which was bumping the Live to card1. This left me with one of two options. The first was to find a way to make Ubuntu and/or Amarok playback to card1 by default. I looked at the instructions for Amarok and it seemed very complicated. The second option was to disable the on-board sound chip via the BIOS. That was not too difficult, just took a little hunting in the BIOS to figure out how to disable.

So after a reboot back into Ubuntu I still didn’t have system sounds. I ran the ‘cat /proc/asound/cards' command again and this time only card0 showed up and it showed up as SB Live. I opened the Sound Preferences (via System >> Preferences) and clicked on the ‘Test’ button. I had a test tone! This was a first.

Next I launched Amarok and started playing music. Nada, or so I thought. I could very faintly hear the music (even though the test tone came through at normal volume). I opened the Volume Control and after some fiddling with both the Master and PCM controls as well as adjusting my speakers I had music and test tone at normal volume! Of course now I wonder what is going to happen when I got into Windows next time, if I am going to be blasted by the start-up sound or not hear it.

For my next project I am going to setup Thunderbird in Ubuntu so it will run off my Windows profile. This way, no matter which OS I am using my Thunderbird will always be in sync. See [Linux] Sharing Thunderbird with Windows for details.

Update: Relaunched Windows XP and volume was at a normal level.  Also fixed funky formatting issues occurring throughout this entry.

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