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A checklist, intended to be a troubleshooting tool for sound.

Intended to list programs that can be run or files that can be checked to confirm proper setup and operation of a sound card.

Initially will be just random things I think of -- hope to evolve to something organized and straightforward.




A General Word About Permissions

In general, certain users must have certain permissions on certain files in order for an Ethernet NIC to work properly. Having the necessary permissions may be direct (permissions of the owner), via membership in a group, or by having those permissions apply to all. (Clearly, the more widely the necessary permissions are distributed, the higher the risk to security of the system.)

Initially I may specify something general here, like all related configuration files must be readable by <user> -- as I learn more and can get more specific, I will try to do so.

Sound Systems

There is more than one "system" of sound available in Linux -- I intend to work toward checklists specific for each sound system, but will probably start out more general.

List of sound systems:

  • arts(d?)
  • OSS (??)
  • ALSA (??)

Tougher Problems to Check

Not sure how to check, but I've heard of problems like mplayer not working with arts because it was not compiled with support for arts.

General Checklist

Proper Ownership of /dev/dsp

Sound Mixer Not Muted


artsd Should Be Running

Try running artsd from the command line as the user you are trying to get sound working for. It should indicate that it is already running. Otherwise, it may start (which means you need to add something somewhere (later) to make it start on bootup (or whatever) -- if it will not run from the command line, pay attention to the error message and try to resolve it.

Very Rough Notes


Re: Sound Problem
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2003 01:41:35 +0100
From: Vladimir Wiedermann <wiedermann@sturak.sk>
To: debian-kde@lists.debian.org

> Sound server informational message:
> Error while initializing the sound driver:
> device: default can't be opened for playback (No such file or directory)
> The sound server will continue, using the null output device.
> What are possible causes of these errors?

1. you have no sound card
2. you are not in audio group
3. you have not loaded module for your card
4. you are trying to use alsa, but not well-configured 
5. you have badly configured arts (configured for alsa and using oss, etc.)

<Currently, no significant content below this line.>


  • () RandyKramer - 25 Feb 2003
  • <If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and include your comment marker (initials), if you have created one, in parenthesis before your WikiName.>

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