The Pains of Linux Audio and HAM Software

I’m trying to get a collection of programs running under Ubuntu which I’m installing via Synaptic (the Ubuntu GUI package manager). However unfortunately (I guess) they’re not from the Universe repository (rather than the official Ubuntu one) and barely any of them work! Why?

Well, most of them can’t find /dev/dsp which is implying they’re developed to work with the older OSS sound setup linux used to use. But in recent times linux now has options of things such as ALSA or PulseAudio – neither of which have anything like /dev/dsp! So I’m now trying to determine what Ubuntu 10.10 uses; from what I can see it has a mix of PulseAudio and ALSA.

Now in theory, any app that needs /dev/dsp can be handled by running it like this:

$ padsp <application>

However I’ve only found that to work about 50% of the time! And the application I really want to get going – gmfsk – really does not like it. So I now find myself again trying to compile something from source to get it to work – and thereby just trying to find all the libraries to install to make it possible (the joy of compiling yourself).

I do like linux, don’t get me wrong, but things like this are infuriating and a by-product of the linux philosophy. Yet you still get the linux zealots who think everyone should be using linux! Well, although linux is getting better each year, it’s still a long way until it’s suitable for the average mum and dad! Ubuntu are doing a great job trying to make it polished and easy to use, but still….


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