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Gnopernicus but no sound (mainly)


I am new to the list and reasonably new to Linux so please bear with me. 

I have very recenlty installed the unstable version of Debian in order to
try out Gnome and Gnopernicus. After installing a base stable system from CD
and doing dist-upgrade I was pleasantly suprised to find that Gnopernicus
(0.8.4) spoke although Gnome opened every new window as a wireframe which
had to be positioned by clicking the mouse. To improve things I installed
GDM via APT but while Gnopernicus still seems to work, I get no speech.
Removing GDM and returning to XDM got me speech back on the first occasion
but not since. 

I have been tinkering since - putting my user account in the audio group to
get other sounds etc and trying to find out why I have the ALSA packages
installed but as far as I know not being used or needed (my es1371 seems to
be directly supported). Is is safe to remove them? I don't really want to
reinstall the lot - this seems an over-reaction in any case. I have looked
around on the net for answers but without much success.

Can anyone give me some advice please.

Nick Williamson


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