No major niggles or problems after upgrading to 9.10 – in fact I’m running out of superlatives to describe Karmic. My wife has long since given up listening to me extol some new-found virtue of this distribution. As I launched into an enthusiastic lecture on the new-look UI with smaller icons and beautifully anti-aliased fonts, the pitying look of incomprehension that crept unbidden across her face spoke volumes.
Anyway, one thing that did stop working for me after the upgrade was Skype. This isn’t generally a problem, I don’t use Skype all that much, but this week I needed to use it for an important video call at work. Whilst Skype loaded fine, none of the sound devices seemed to work, and the test call was quieter than my wife’s reaction to Karmic’s faster shutdown speed. I had “pulse” listed as my default audio device, which seemed to be correct, but nothing was happening. I also tried “Intel hw:0,1″ and “Intel hw:0,3″, but still no joy.
Although I was using the latest version, I decided to uninstall Skype using the Synaptic Package Manager. I marked each Skype package for Complete Removal, which would remove any configuration files and user data.
I then reinstalled Skype from this link (or if you have Ubuntu 64bit, then this link). Just download the package, and then open it for installation. Things were better from the outset, because at least this time Skype made a noise on loading. When I checked the options, I could see that the sound devices were now referred to differently “PulseAudio server (local)” rather than the multitude of options I had previously.
I found it best to uncheck the box that says Allow Skype to automatically adjust my mixer levels, and then to set the microphone volume through the System -> Preferences -> Sound applet. If I allowed Skype to adjust the sound automatically, then I could hear people perfectly, but they couldn’t hear me – it practically turned off my microphone.
Then, all that was left to do was to add Skype to start automatically, which is easy:
- Go to Options in Skype and choose General
- Check the Start Skype minimised in the system tray box
- Go to the System -> Preferences -> Startup Applications applet
- Click Add and enter the following details:
- Name: Skype
- Command: skype
- Click Add and then Close. Now Skype will start automatically when you reboot.
It seems that Ubuntu 9.10 is more dependent on PulseAudio than previous releases, and I’ve read a lot of blogs indicating that this may not be a good thing. I’m going to do more research before I give an opinion, but suffice to say that the above procedure fixed my Skype audio problem.
Audio options in Skype