Love & Hate Relationship

I love Linux – last month was my 8 year anniversary of using Linux in some form, and next month will be the 2 year anniversary of using Linux as my only operating system when I retired from gaming.

I love Ubuntu – I love the community, the developers committed to making Linux (and Debian) better (and easier), and the wealth of applications.

But some things drive me crazy about Linux, and today’s rant is about trying to get my microphone jack to work. It’s little things like this, that in my mind should just work, but don’t. If you search the Ubuntu Forums for microphone, it’s amazing how many threads pop up that folks can’t get their mics to work.

I have an Intel HDA audio card built in to my motherboard. I spent a good 4 hours today trying different things to get it to work. When I started, I could listen to audio through my speakers and in my headset at the same time. Now I can’t, after changing some setting I’m not aware of. I spent hours playing with Alsamixer, Alsamixergui, Volume Control, and Sound settings. I tried to record using 2 different boom mics, different ports, different options in Sound Recorder and Volume Control, editing alsa files, all to no avail.

I have a slightly newer motherboard, though stock Intel, with a Core 2 Duo processor. Most threads I saw had problems with the Conexant chip, and I have a Sigmatel. It could be anything – it could be I’ve messed with my settings and hosed it myself, it could be that I’m running Ubuntu Edgy and in the last 6 months either Ubuntu or Alsa have a fix, and I’m just running an old version, or my hardware is still to new and folks are out there hacking on it without an answer yet.

It’s maddening, but I’ll keep trying, and when I figure it out, I’ll post an answer and help out the next folks who get stuck. But I may just install Feisty and see if I have better luck. (I know – it shouldn’t be on a main machine as it hasn’t been released yet, but I’m feeling daring!)

Paul Cutler
Father. Husband. Vinyl Music Lover. Football fan. Python student. He / him.