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Evelyn was having problems with the sound on her laptop. Mostly it was for playing music or other audio while working, via XMMS. I had set up a script for her which would re-load audio, and that worked for a while, but she started having problems again. With my FC3 upgrade, I started having problems as well. I was able to track down both of our problems, though.

I initially thought Evelyn's problems were related to drivers. When I upgraded though, I started having all sorts of problems. My XMMS was real flaky, the analyzer scope was updating only about once a second, cross-fade (which is really cool, you should try it out, it's in various yum repositories as a module for XMMS) would wait 15+ seconds before starting a fade, etc.

I also ran into problems where my music would just stop playing between songs. In fact, I could usually only get it to play a song or two before flaking out.

Before, I had always used the OSS device for sound directly, because I never was really happy with the “esd” output. It seemed mostly to just get in the way. Then with esd and artsd fighting over things, it just got worse. So, I'd pretty much just kill any esd or artsd processes when I found them and play directly to the audio output device. That worked well, until the FC3 upgrade.

I finally decided to try switching to using arts. I first changed my XMMS output device to artsd, then made sure it was working. Seems to be fine after that. I also had to change mplayer by adding the line “ao=arts,alsa” to my “~/.mplayer/config” file. That way it will try arts first, and then fall back to alsa if arts doesn't work.

The last thing I've been having problems with is the voice mail from our PBX. I originally had my mail client, mutt, configured to play .wav files using the “play” program. I tried using “artsplay”, but it didn't seem to do anything. I finally settled for “artsdsp play”. artsdsp is a program which runs another program in an environment where it thinks it's talking to “/dev/dsp”, but it's actually pushing the bits through arts. This is working fine.

Evelyn's problems seem to be related to having XMMS using OSS output instead of arts. I hadn't even thought about it being an audio output configuration problem for the longest time. It'd be nice if XMMS just did the right thing and auto-detected the audio to use. I could imagine it looking at the running processes for an “artsd” or “esd” process running and if so trying the appropriate output first. If it fails, go on and try all the other ones. Maybe one day I'll have time to work on such a patch.

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