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No sound in some (non-kde) apps with arts


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If you're using the arts sound server, artsd, (yes, I know... crappy farts... ;) ) in KDE and frequently get an error similar to:

Failed to open sound device /dev/dsp: Device or resource busy

when starting non-KDE programs such as vmware or amsn. This can be caused by artsd not giving up control of your sound device(s).


Checking the "Auto-suspend if idle after:" box in KDE Control Center > Sound & Multimedia > Sound System > General tab and setting the time to 1 second should work but on my system it definitely does not auto-suspend artsd.


Here's what I found works:

I still have artsd start automatically with "Enable the sound system" selected in kcontrol and using ALSA. Running the following command really makes artsd auto-suspend after one second:

/usr/bin/artsshell autosuspend 1


So to have this working all the time I have the following script in ~/.kde/Autostart/arts_suspend

# Force artsd to auto-suspend after 1 second.
/usr/bin/artsshell autosuspend 1


This saves having to kill artsd before starting vmware! and then starting it again later.


With aMSN I use "/usr/bin/artsplay $sound" in the prefs which always worked, but prior to the fix above, /dev/dsp was always busy - even after quitting aMSN. Possible a bug in aMSN?


Also, I have duplex set to half (ie. Full duplex not selected in kcontrol) as recommended in the docs (if you're not recording sound that is) - this seems to have helped a bit with missing the beginning of very short sounds on my digital sound setup.


Anyway, hope this helps others with this problem.


My system is running Mandriva 2008 x86_64.



Oops, neary forgot: running the following give status info of the arts sound server.

/usr/bin/artsshell status




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