Linux and Youtube...

By boxfiddler Moderator ·
I'm having a problem with Ubuntu and You
Tube. I can view the video but get no sound. Sound system is working fine, I can listen to internet radio, mp3's, play CD's.

Ubuntu and other Linux forums are full of the same question. The prevailing wisdom seems to be that the Adobe flash plug-in is badly in need of an update.

Does anyone here have this problem, if so have you found a way around it?

Any handy dandy tips and suggestions are appreciated!

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This is a common problem (as you noted)

by TechExec2 In reply to Linux and Youtube...

As I understand it, the problem is that many programs require direct and exclusive access to the sound hardware in order to work. There needs to be better abstraction of the sound hardware in Linux such that it can be shared.

The Flash browser plugin is "famous" for demanding exclusive access to the sound device in order to work. And, once it has it, it does not give it up until the tab, or the browser window, is closed. Conversely, if it cannot get exclusive access, no sound.

The KDE sound system also requires exclusive access to the sound hardware, but it has a mechanism to automatically give it up when it is done.

This design problem doesn't always manifest itself for me. That is, sometimes sound works with multiple programs. Sometimes it doesn't. I'm not entirely sure why yet. It appears there is a sharing mechanism, but not all programs use it. I have generally observed that KDE programs such as Kaffeine and Amarok play nicely with each other for example.

I work around this as follows (Kubuntu):

1. KControl-> Sound & Multimedia -> Sound System -> Auto-suspend if idle after = 1 second

This causes the KDE sound system to release the sound device 1 second after it is no longer being used.

2. Firefox: After playing a Flash video, if another program needs to use sound, I close the tab. This frees the sound device.

3. VMWare Workstation: If it cannot get exclusive access to the sound device when a virtual machine is started, it will complain with a message box and start without it. If you resolve the problem by closing the program holding the device, you can cause VMware to take the device via its settings dialog and the VM will begin using it. However, once this is done, sound will not work in other programs unless you force VMware to give it up manually by reversing this action.


This sucks. But, I find it an irritation that I can work around for now. This is one area where Linux needs to improve. I can look past my Linux not being perfect here. At least it never falsely accuses me of being a pirate! :^0

You might feel a little better about it knowing that while sound worked pretty well in Windows XP, it went downhill and has problems in Vista because Microsoft rewrote the sound system to "improve" it. :^0

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Thanks again...

by boxfiddler Moderator In reply to This is a common problem ...

Unfortunately, I don't appear to have that level of control with the gnome interface - at least I can't find a way to make that release setting as yet. I'll certainly make note of your advice for future reference. It's really no big deal, but YouTube can be pretty amusing on a bad day! I fire up Windows regularly for now...

I am also using restricted drivers for sound (nVidia-thank goodness they are available as I love my music) and I suspect that may have something to do with odds and ends of sound issues somewhere along the way. OSS and ALSA don't give me sound out of my card and I have noted that Amarok is a problem for me - possibly because of that? IDK... but I'll find out as I go along.

Much as I am liking Linux, I do find it needs a bit of finesse here and there. But finesse I can do without for the most part if it keeps Uncle Billy out of my business.

I have heard and read a lot of complaints about Vista and sound as well as video (which will be my next experiment btw).

I do so appreciate your time TechExec2.

edit - thought I made a booboo but I didn't

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