Bug#316562: auto detection of sound system doesn't work

Monty Montgomery xiphmont at gmail.com
Thu Jan 28 11:07:15 UTC 2010


[Although I sincerely hope no one in using esound any longer...]

Libao is designed to automatically use the 'highest priority' audio
device available on a system, and esound is set to be higher priority
than OSS.  It will use esound over OSS and ALSA automatically if it is
running if it can.
Unfortunately, there are numerous things in the environment that will
override this default behavior, and I expect something in the OSS,
esound or libao Debian package is accidentally overriding automatic

If there's an /etc/libao.conf or .libao config file that specifies a
default audio device to use, this will override all autodetection.  If
you have this file and it it specifying '/dev/dsp' or something
similar, that is the culprit.  It directs libao to only use /dev/dsp
and it will never let go.  remove it.

The next thing that may be happening is that it is looking for ESD but
not finding it because the package file has overridden the default
socket location in a way that esd_open_sound() can no longer find it.

In short, I have verified here using esound/OSS and esound/ALSA that
failover is working properly in libao.  Something in your environment
that is out of our control (but in yours!) is causing the problem.

We will be adding extensive additional [optional] debugging output to
libao in the upcoming release to assist in debugging these sorts of


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