Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Now have flash and sound in FreeBSD on DellDim9200

This is essentially Part IV of a series of posts on how I got FreeBSD 8.2 up and running smoothly on a Dell Dimension 9200 with dual monitors. The earlier parts are here, here and here.
Getting flash and sound working in a new FreeBSD install should not be a major problem particularly as both are very well documented in the Handbook. Here's what you need to know about flash and this one covers the configuration of a sound card.

However, I did have problems with both.
First, when installing the linux-f10-flashplugin10 from ports, no copy of install_flash_player_10_linux.tar.gz was available to the installer despite looking first in /usr/ports/distfiles/flashplugin/10.2r152/ and then in two websites.
Then I downloaded a version of install_flash_player_10_linux.tar.gz from Rapidshare and placed it in /usr/ports/distfiles/flashplugin/10.2r152/. However, it wasn't recognized as such as I got the usual "doesn't seem to be in distfiles" complaint.
Then I tried to download the "same" file from Softpedia but it too was unrecognized by the ports installer.
Next I linked to FreeBSD on my Dell E520 (using SimpleHTTPServer) and copied over the install_flash_player_10_linux.tar.gz that was present in the distfiles.
And this one worked.
Why the first two didn't work is unclear to me. However, I did notice that the two that didn't work had sizes of 11.2 MB and 5.2 MB while the one that did the trick weighed in at just 4.7 MB.

On the E520, sound (Intel 82801) just worked.
But, not on the Dim 9200. Of course it has a different sound card (Creative SB X-Fi) which this thread seems to suggest is driver-less for FreeBSD.
So, I issued the following command

# kldload snd_driver

after which *cat /dev/sndstat* gave the following output rather than *unknown command* as it did previously:
FreeBSD Audio Driver (newpcm: 32bit 2009061500/i386)
Installed devices:
pcm0: (play) default
pcm1: (play)
pcm2: (play)
pcm3: (play)

nVidia sound card? Perhaps there's a sound module on my nVidia graphics card but, in any event, after this there was still no sound.

Nothing for it but to install the "old-reliable" OSS (which is what is called 4Front in the thread).
OSS is easy to install from the audio/oss port but after a reboot, still no sound even though running cat /dev/sndstat gave this output:
# cat /dev/sndstat
OSS 4.2 (b 2004/201103231429)BSD (C) 4Front Technologies 1996-2009
Kernel: FreeBSD 8.2-RELEASE #0: Fri Feb 18 02:24:46 UTC 2011

Audio devices:
0: Sound Blaster X-Fi output (OUTPUT)
1: Sound Blaster X-Fi input (INPUT)

MIDI devices:

0: Sound Blaster X-Fi

/dev/oss/oss_sbxfi0/pcm0.03: pid 2549 cmd 'pulseaudio' IN OUT 1 underruns Rec events: 01004:0
/dev/oss/oss_sbxfi0/pcm0.02: pid 2549 cmd 'pulseaudio' IN OUT Rec events: 01004:0
/dev/oss/oss_sbxfi0/pcm0.00: pid 2587 cmd 'osstest' OUT

NOTICE! Device numbers shown above may be wrong.
Use the ossinfo command to find out the correct device names.

Next I started the install of the port /multimedia/gstreamer-plugin-all (principally because the sound volume icon in the gnome-panel complained that I had an unconfigured sound card and possibly needed the "appropriate" gstreamer plugin. Not knowing which was the correct one, if any were, I tried to install them all.
At the same time I issued a
# soundon

Strangely, shortly after this, the whole computer froze so my gstreamer install was stopped after running for about 30 minutes.
After the subsequent reboot, osstest produced an audio output as did a movie I tried on the vlc player.
So, everything looking good. However, the computer freezing issue means I'm unclear as to what exactly got things moving.
Just to note that after a subsequent reboot, no sound was available until I ran the soundon command.

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