sound works, but how?

Chuck Robey chuckr at
Tue Jan 8 15:43:14 PST 2008

Hash: SHA1

I'm at a bit of a loss, so I'm asking for help.  I know darn well I can get
sound working by going back right to the way i had it, but I need to know
*why* it's not working now, so I can use it better.

Anyhow, I have a Motherboard with a AD1988b sound chip (it's hda/Azalia).
I have both the sound, snd_hda, and the oss sound kld'd in. and an ossinfo
seems to like things,  As a GUI, I run gnome, and things like all the
various gnome beeps, blips and moans come out as designed, so I think that
a lot of sound works.

My problem is, no other sound playing works now.  For instance, I used to
be able to play mp3's with either xmms or mpg123, but now, they neither of
them work.  I've experimented with a pretty wide array of sound tools,
nothing works.  The errors come in two flavors ... mostly, they complain
that they weren't able to open the /dev/dsp0 which seems fine, it's a
softlink here to /dev/oss/hdaudio0/pcm0, and it sure *used* to work, like
under KDE (I recently began running gnome, and now neither gnome nor KDE
can play music anymore, although both will play their internal beeps and
tests).   The other kind of error, which is quite comparatively rare,
actually, comppains that a pareticular Gstreamer isn't there, but it won't
tell me which one is missing, and I seem to have installed them all, by my
lookiing at the dirs in /var/db/pkg.

Am I using the right device, which is that dsp0 link, which is created by
the oss driver? is that device able to be opened by both the GUI and othjer
progs at the same time?  Seems stupid not to allow the GUI to share the
device, right?  Am I right to run both snd_hda and the oss hda modules both
at the same time?  Or should I use oss alone?  I've tried this both as a
regular user and as root, to get past the permission problem (I wasn't
sure) but could it still, somehow, be a permission problem?
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