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Re: alsa failing to play auditory icon files on FC5

From: Jerry Sievers <jerry@jerrysievers.com>
Subject: alsa failing to play auditory icon files on FC5
Date: 27 Dec 2006 17:46:42 -0500

> Just built the alsified eflite server and works fine but on my Fedora
> 5 machine, the .au files don't play and testing directly with aplay
> gives the error message shown below.  I have no such problem on FC4.
> Any hints are appreciated.
> aplay ask-short-question.au
> aplay: pcm_plug.c:384: snd_pcm_plug_change_channels: Assertion `snd_pcm_format_linear(slv->format)' failed.
> Aborted by signal Aborted...
> ALSA lib pcm_plug.c:68:(snd_pcm_plug_close) plug slaves mismatch
> -- 
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Jerry Sievers   305 854-3001 (home)     Production Database Administrator
>                 305 321-1144 (mobil	WWW E-Commerce Consultant

I had a problem which sounds a bit similar a couple of weeks ago. I
didn't "solve" the problem, but found a solution which worked for me. 

In my case, after upgrading to a 2.6.18 kernel in Debian testing, I
found that once atcleci.so was loaded, I could not play any other
audio stream. I did not change anything with my .asoundrc file and was
using the default which comes with emacspeak. 

If the atcleci.so library was not loaded, then I could play multiple
audio streams at the same time. The error I was getting indicated that
other apps could not open the pcm slave device. As long as atcleci.so
was not loaded (i.e. I was not running ViaVoice, I had no problems. 

I verified it is something different in the compile of the 2.6.18
kernel by booting back into 2.6.17. With this earlier kernel,
everything runs as expected. 

The simple quick and dirty solution I did was to define a new pcm
within my .asoundrc file called viavoice. I then changed the init code
in atcleci.cpp to use this pcm rather than "default". Now I am able to
play multiple audio channels with no problems. In fact, atcleci.so
seems to be even more responsive and stable. 

This may or may not be similar to the problem you are experiencing. I
would suggest trying the following 

1. Try playing the icon sound files before starting emacspeak and see
if that works. If it does, I'm guessing that flite is somehow setting
the format type of the default dmix pcm to something incompatible with
what aplay wants. 

2. If you have a .asoundrc file, move it aside and see what difference
that makes. If you don't have one, try creating one and see if that
improves the situation. 

3. If you have a different/earlier kernel available, boot into that
and see if you have the same problem. If you do, then its probably
some kernel parameter which has changed. 

Unfortunately, I still find much of the .asoundrc stuff to be a bit
too close to "black magick" The documentation seems to be getting
better, but I still have some problems fully understanding it. I've
seen some very interesting examples and it would appear to be a very
powerful tool - but really groking it is not trivial IMO. 



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