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Re: Two Lenny problems

On Sat, 27 Feb 2010 01:33:51 -0500 (EST), Cecil Knutson wrote:
> I get silence when trying to  play a .wav file with aplay.  No error  
> messages, just says "Playing WAVE 'Track1.wav' : Signed 16 bit Little  
> Endian, Rate 44100 Hz, Stereo"

Rats.  I was hoping you'd get an error message that might give us
a clue.

> The sound card is, without doubt, older  
> than 2008.  I've had the system for at least two years myself and Dell  
> support says the system shipped in 2004.


> It is no honor to me to have stumped you.  And Florian.  Another mystery  
> with respect to Debian.  I have been trying to supplant Windows since  
> getting Debian Potato, but there is some discrepancy with every  
> installation of Debian I have done that renders it less capable than  
> Windows.  Some really weird ones, too.  All I am willing to do right now  
> is to try another installation on a completely different system.

I was going to suggest trying a different sound card on your existing
system.  But it's your call.

I have a couple of Dell systems too.  One is a Dell Optiplex GX400
running Squeeze.  It has sound built-in to the motherboard.  alsamixer
reports the card as "Intel 82801BA-ICH2" and the chip as "Analog Devices
AD1885".  Sound works fine on it.  GNOME Startup and Shutdown sounds
don't work, but that's a known bug.  They finally got rid of the ESD in
Squeeze, but that was a major change and disabling startup and shutdown
sounds is a workaround for a bug that hasn't been fixed yet.  Once
started, GNOME system sounds works fine, although it requires some

The other system is a Dell Dimension 4400 with a separate sound card.
It runs Lenny.  alsamixer reports the card as "SBLive! Value [CT4780]"
and the chip as "TriTech TR28602".  Sound works perfectly, including
GNOME system sounds.

> I am not  
> comfortable with trying Squeeze, thank you.  It seems futile after getting  
> sound out of Ubuntu 9.10, which has a good driver base and a recent  
> kernel.

You know, it could just be that something went wrong with the original
installation.  Remember, you had hangs in epiphany-browser and iceweasel.
I've never seen that before.

> Do you foresee any gross problems with transferring the HD from  
> this system to another system and repeating the installation procedure? (I  
> do!! I just remembered that the HD in this system is SATA and all my other  
> systems are PATA.)

I guess you answered your own question there.

> I'm tired of wiping Windows installations for no good  
> reason.

Unless you don't have enough space on the hard disk for both,
you don't need to wipe Windows.  ("Wipe Windows".  Cute metaphor.  :-) )

Most Windows installations I've seen have one big "C" drive which
takes up the whole hard disk, leaving no room for installing anything
else.  But that "C" drive is mostly free space.  During installation
you can shrink down the size of that partition to make room for Linux.
That's what I did on the Dell Dimension 4400.  I wish I had wiped Windows
now, but I didn't.  The Debian installer has support for this.  Run
the installer in expert mode and choose manual partitioning.  Select
the existing partition and then select "Resize partition".  Not all
file systems are supported by the Debian installer for resizing.
But I do know that FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS are supported.

> I had an older Dell system on which Sarge installed with no  
> problems whatsoever, and I was soooo pleased.  Then the HD died and I  
> replaced it with another, reinstalled Sarge and could never get another  
> desktop.  From just changing the HD?  Give me a break, please.

That is strange.  It makes me wonder if you made a mistake during
installation.  But I guess we'll never know.

> It is  
> obvious to me that I am going to have to dig into Debian just as I have  
> done with Windows and DOS.  That is unfortunate because I have gotten to  
> the point with computers now that I just want them to work, I don't want  
> to fix them any more.  I have been repairing systems for over twenty  
> years, and the fun is gone.  Now it is just frustrating as hell to get new  
> technology that isn't any more capable, stable nor secure (in my  
> experience) than the old.  Feces!!  Many thanks, again.

In that case, you might want to try buying a computer with Debian
pre-installed.  See http://www.debian.org/distrib/pre-installed.
This list is probably not exhaustive or up-to-date but will give
you a good start.

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