ICH6 Intel Sound on Unity or Mandriva PulseAudio Fix

I had been fighting for a very long time with pulseaudio on Unity Linux 2010…it just didn’t seem to work for me.  There were problems with having to mute and unmute the external amplifier channel in alsamixer in order to get sound to work.  On some boots there was no sound and on others, sound was fine.  When I finally installed TinyMe 2010 RC last week, I disabled pulseaudio all together to get the sound working with ALSA only.

Then the worst thing that could possibly happen on my Gateway M250 happened…ALSA stopped working and there was no sound.  I started pulseaudio back up to no avail…no matter what I did, nothing worked to get sound up and running.

It was about the time I wanted to carve the sound pieces out of my laptop and throw them across the room that I decided to give everything I tried in the past one more try.

I fixed it…and I was pretty amazed that the solution was as easy as it was having spent weeks upon weeks fighting the pulseaudio issue.  I can only surmise that I made a typo in the module that I needed to blacklist.  After this arduous journey, it came down to blacklisting the modem sound card to make things work.

To do this on Mandriva and Unity Linux you’ll need to blacklist the following module:  snd_intel8x0m.  Notice the ‘m’ on the end of the standard module snd_intel8x0 for the ICH6 sound card.

You can do this by editing the following file as root in your favorite text editor:  /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-compat

Add the following line anywhere in this file:

blacklist snd_intel8x0m

After that, you can reboot to make sure the module is blacklisted.  I know there are more elegant ways to load and unload kernel modules but this is the easiest way to get the job done for new users.  Subsequent reboots resulted in still having sounds.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to rip my laptop apart in a quest to throw the sound portions.  I sure hope this helps others out!

The Absent PCLinuxOS Release Cycle

During distro comparisons, many call a lack of release cycle for PCLinuxOS one of its negative aspects. In my opinion, this is the most attractive and positive aspects of the small distribution. Not to take away from a distribution that sets a release cycle…I understand that normal release cycles are a must with companies and software engineering. However, I think PCLinuxOS has a unique approach to releases and updates. Allow me a bit of time to show you the method in my madness on this one.

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Laying to Rest the Mandriva/PCLOS Debate

The one thing about FOSS that I love is that you can take whatever you need from various sources and build what you opine is a better wheel. Take Ubuntu for instance…they took Debian and made it into something that many users are happy with.

Is this wrong? Not at all. Each day, many non-commercial distro makes wake up and check various distributions for updated security fixes. They pull source rpms, updated tar.gz’s, and debs into their distro, make minor adjustments, and drop it into their repository. Distros share with one another…they take and hopefully give back. If not monetarily, at least by the number of users that they have that may report bugs or provide fixes.

So what’s the beef that some Distrowatch Weekly commenter’s seem to have with PCLinuxOS? During the past 3 weeks of comments on the DW, some have been hounding PCLinuxOS with accusations saying that the developers hide things from their community and that PCLinuxOS eradicates changelogs and/or lights small dogs on fire while chopping kittens to bits in blenders, etc.

Myth #1: PCLinuxOS Hides the Fact it is Mandriva based (False)

PCLinuxOS.com has always had an “About” link on every single webpage it has ever had. Let’s look at what information has been conveyed there:

“PCLinuxOS was originally based on another distribution under the name of Mandriva
and shares many features of Mandriva such as the Control Center and the
Draklive Installer
. Texstar and team would like to thank the
developers, contributors and others associated with Mandriva who may
have indirectly contributed to the PCLinuxOS distribution.”

Let’s look at some other distro front pages to see how they compare. Sabayon Linux has their footer at the bottom with Gentoo in it…but no mention on the front page as to what they’re based on. No real ‘about’ link there either. Move on to Ubuntu. No mention of Debian on the front page. You have to visit the Community >> The Ubuntu Story link in order to find that it is based on Debian. Once again, no ‘about’ link on the front page.

Let’s take a look at the PCLinuxOS Page on Distrowatch shall we? This has been utterly unchanged in 4 years:

“PCLinuxOS is an English only live CD initially based on Mandrake Linux
that runs entirely from a bootable CD. Data on the CD is uncompressed
on the fly, allowing up to 2GB of programs on one CD including a
complete X server, KDE desktop, OpenOffice.org and many more
applications all ready to use. In addition to the live CD, you can also
install PCLinuxOS to your hard drive with an easy-to-use
livecd-installer. Additional applications can be added or removed from
your hard drive using a friendly apt-get front end via Synaptic.”

If that paragraph is an attempt to hide things, I’m Miles Davis.

Considering these two points, I’d say PCLinuxOS hasn’t been ‘hiding’ the fact that it is Mandriva based. I’d say they’re doing quite well with where they have this information. I welcome any comments with information otherwise. If you have specific examples, please make sure they’re from a developer and not a general user…because if general users are where we’re getting our information from, every distro is in trouble.