Sound problems reloaded (Linux Ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10)

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So after updating 10.04 to 10.10 sound didn't work — again.

I've bitched and moaned about sound and Ubuntu countless times on Twitter and after literally wasting away countless hours on sound and Ubuntu in the recent months, here are some pointers so hopefully others won't waste as much time as I did.

Pulseaudio

There are countless of threads and blog posts online about how people despise pulseaudio and I have no idea if there's anything better, but I'm running Ubuntu because I don't care. And I don't want to care either.

So far I have tried OSS (Open Sound System) and esound. OSS was an especially painful experience for me and I tried it for about two weeks until I gave up, and esound just did not work at all. Pulseaudio seems to be the most stable of the three by far.

So when I discovered that sound did not work (again), I took the time to clean out all pulseaudio related packages using the Synaptic Package Manager.

I uninstalled everything pulseaudio-related before I continued.

Alsa

I haven't figured out this part yet. Not sure what it does — anyhow. Since I updated to 10.04 (the supposedly rock-solid and stable LTS) Alsa got constantly screwed up: the installed package linux-backports-modules-alsa-* often didn't match the kernel I had installed.

So before resetting alsa, I made sure the correct backport was installed.

I used the following to find my current kernel:

$ uname -r
2.6.35-30-generic

And then I installed linux-backports-modules-alsa-2.6.35-30-generic and nothing else.

Then I re-setted/-installed alsa with the following command:

$ sudo aptitude --purge reinstall linux-sound-base \
alsa-base alsa-utils linux-image-`uname -r` \
linux-ubuntu-modules-`uname -r` libasound2

Pulseaudio reloaded

Before re-installing it, I deleted .pulse* in my home directory:

$ cd
$ rm -rf .pulse*

Then I ran the following command to install pulseaudio (again):

sudo apt-get install pulseaudio

Fin

Last but not least — welcome to Windows, err... I had to reboot. And then it all worked.

I'm buying a mac within the next two weeks. This is just too much to bear.

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