Fluxbox on Ubuntu: two more problems, two more solutions

Have to manually unmute sound every time I reboot

This was another one that was driving me up a wall. I HATE having to manually reset anything like this every single time I log in or reboot.

Like the GNOME Power Manager daemon not running causing certain undesirable lower-level default behavior, I assumed that this was because of the sound server not starting automatically (since I wasn’t running GNOME as my desktop environment).

However, I couldn’t figure out what the heck I needed to start in order to make that happen. Worse yet, it DID seem to be running at the login manager screen, only to mute itself once I logged in to my Fluxbox desktop. Ubuntu has a default sound scheme, and it makes a sound once GDM is fired up.

But I’d get logged in, have no sound, and fire up any sound management app that I have — WMMixer, Alsamixer — and I’d see that master volume was all the way down to 0%, and the sound on that channel was muted on top of it all.

After playing around with having various things start up (I even added wmmixer & to my /~/.fluxbox/startup file, so that I could at least easily manually unmute it every time I logged in by having the WMMixer utility already up and running) I also ended up running alsamixer from a terminal, unmuted everything, set the master volume where it should be, and saved those settings the way I normally would, by typing sudo alsactl store.

This was all well and good, but it didn’t solve the problem. On the next reboot, sound was muted and at 0% volume again. It seemed like no matter what I did, I was going to have to manually adjust this every time I logged in.

Finally, Patrick suggested adding alsactl restore to my /etc/rc.d/rc.local. Being a Slackware guy, it’s an honest mistake to expect that there be an rc.local file to which one can add stuff like that, but in Ubuntu you have to do things a bit differently.

Besides, I didn’t think this needed to run on boot, since I apparently did in fact have sound all the way up until Fluxbox started.

However, this did make good sense to try to restore the ALSA settings I had previously stored… I thought they just needed to be restored once Fluxbox was started though. So I took a shot in the dark and added the following line to my /~/.fluxbox/startup file, slightly modifying Patrick’s suggestion:

alsactl restore

And that did the trick! I was a bit skeptical about doing this, as the alsactl command is a root-only command, and I was expecting it to simply not work in the startup file because of this, but when I tested it, sound was no longer muted by default in Fluxbox.

So, there went two more problems running Fluxbox on top of Ubuntu. If any more come up, I’ll make sure I post them and their solutions (assuming I keep finding solutions), if not solely for my own reference, then in the hopes that it saves someone else some time in troubleshooting this kind of stuff.

Until then, let me know your experiences with Fluxbox on Ubuntu. I think I now have most of the wrinkles ironed out, but I’d like to hear about any that I haven’t run into that others may have.

2 thoughts on “Fluxbox on Ubuntu: two more problems, two more solutions

    • That’s one of the first things I did check out… it was already in there, and it was already false.

      But xscreensaver wasn’t the problem… it was some low-level power management functionality that was defaulting to that behavior, and then it was USING xscreensaver to accomplish that function. You can call xscreensaver explicitly as a screen lock, which is what I think this was doing.

      It’s all good now though. Since I have the “gnome-power-manager” daemon running at Fluxbox startup, this behavior doesn’t occur.

      Thanks for the suggestion though!

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