I'm using Kubuntu, but not the latest version, the one before it
(Gutsy, I think) and KDE 3.5.8 and have been using OSS.
Many times I start a program and I don't get sound output. Most of
the time I'm using either Amarok, Flash (from Firefox or
Konqueror), Kaffeine, and sometimes KMail (some message filters
trigger sounds for me). I'm not using any big games that take up
the full screen, but I have a few like PySol or one or two that
work under Wine.
I may start one program, like Amarok, and play music in it, then
stop that music and run a game or try to watch something in Flash
and may not get sound -- or if I've been playing a game, then try
to run Amarok, I may have had sound for the game and not Amarok.
It used to be that I could have Amarok playing music in the
background and play a game and I'd get the sounds from both, but
not anymore. At most one program can play sounds at a time (as
best I can tell, I haven't tried every combination of programs).
Usually if I pull up the KDE control center and change from OSS
Sound to Autodetect, hit "Apply" to restart, then switch BACK to
OSS, and hit "Apply" again, I can get sound. Even with this,
though, there's a trick to it. If I've played a game and had
sounds with it, then I quite the program and start a song in Amarok
(which was in the background all the time, just not playing) I
won't get sound. I have to quite Amarok, then do the KDE Control
Center thing, THEN restart Amarok and it'll play.
I don't know the sound system well, but it seems to me that there's
a problem with channels or resources not being freed up after they
should be released or some multiplexing that is not happening.
I'm using a Soundblaster and nothing exotic. This worked fine
until I upgraded from Feisty Fawn to Gusty Gibbon. I just haven't
had time to worry about it until now, when I was playing a song in
Amarok, hit the "Next Song" button and got a message "Audio Output
Unavailable" I'm not sure about the rest of the message because I
can't make it come up every time and it goes away quickly enough I
haven't copied the whole thing, but it's something like "Device
unavailable." This has made it frustrating enough I just need to
get it fixed.
I know that puts it onto something Kubuntu did wrong, but overall,
I'd think that I should be able to use apt-get or dpkg-reconfigure
to either remove and reinstall the sound system or to reconfigure
it, but I'm not sure of all the packages that might be involved or
if there's an easier solution.