Tag Archives: Gutsy

How To: Ubuntu MIDI Playback with Audacious

One of the things I kind of missed from Linux is general MIDI playback. Currently there’s only a few options. Use a software synth such as Timidity or try and fool around for a long time to get your hardware to play MIDI. There is some hope though, a new plugin in the gstreamer-bad package upstream will allow any gstreamer based player play MIDI through Timidity. But if you have a sound card that can play MIDI why not use it? A software synth is very CPU intensive, using the hardware seems optimal. There’s also another way. Audacious has a MIDI plugin that can do both hardware and software synth, so everyone ends up happy.

So how do you do this?

Software Synth, AMIDI Plugin with FluidSynth Backend

This is good for computers that do not have a sound card capable of MIDI playback.

First install Audacious and extras

sudo apt-get install audacious audacious-plugins audacious-plugins-extra

Now open Audacious and right click anywhere on Audacious to bring up the menu. Go to Preference. Click on the Plugins tab and highlight the AMIDI-Plug plugin. Then click Preferences and select the FluidSynth backend. Now select the FluidSynth Backend tab to configure it. You’re going to need to find a general MIDI soundfont. There’s plenty available out there. Now you need to add the location of the soundfont (.SF2) to the SoundFont settings. Now click OK. You should now be able to play back MIDIs πŸ™‚

Hardware Synth, AMIDI Plugin with ALSA Backend

This is a little more tricky and you need to have a sound card that is capable of MIDI playback. Any card that uses the emu10k1 driver (e.g. Sound Blaster Audigy 2 and 4) should work since they are capable of loading soundfont wave tables into the sound card.
First let’s install the necessary item

sudo apt-get install audacious audacious-plugins audacious-plugins-extra awesfx

Now open Audacious and right click anywhere on it to bring up the menu. Go to Preferences and select the Plugins tab. Highlight the AMIDI-Plug plugin and click on Preferences. Highlight the ALSA Backend. You can configure extra options for the ALSA backend by clicking on the ALSA Backend tab, but the defaults should be fine. Click OK and close the Preferences dialog. Now you’re going to need a SoundFont. If you have a Sound Blaster Audigy check the installation CD. There should be some soundfonts on there. Copy them to your hard drive somewhere. Now open a terminal and cd to the directory where you put them

cd /path/to/soundfont/

Now load it into the sound card with asfxload

asfxload soundfont.SF2

Now you can close the terminal and go back to Audacious. You should now be able to play MIDI files off the hardware. The only slight inconvenience to this is that when you reboot you will have to reload the soundfont before playing MIDIs.

I’ve made a screencast of both ways to do this if you need to see it visually πŸ˜‰

Just be warned the first half came out really loud for some reason, so you might want to turn your volume down a bit. πŸ˜†



How To: Screenlets bzr

From what I’ve heard, the maintainer of Screenlets was not able to keep working on the project. Now because of the awesomeness of open source πŸ˜€ someone else has picked up the code and created a new bzr branch. This is a guide on how to install them since there is no repository for them yet.

First, if you have a previous version of Screenlets installed you need to remove it completely.

If you have installed it from a repository:

sudo apt-get remove –purge screenlets

(that’s two hyphens before purge. Doesn’t copy into the terminal correctly πŸ˜• )

or if you have built them from source and still have the source directory:

cd /path/to/directory

sudo make uninstall

If you don’t have the source directory anymore:

sudo rm -r /usr/local/share/screenlets*
sudo rm -r /usr/local/bin/screenlets*
sudo rm -r /usr/lib/python2.4/site-packages/screenlets*
sudo rm -r /usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/screenlets*

Also make sure to remove your Screenlets folder in your hidden .config directory

rm -r .config/Screenlets

Now to get installing πŸ™‚

The first method will be to build yourself a .deb so if you have to remove it for any reason or just want to be able to manage installed software easier you can.

So let’s install the dependencies

sudo apt-get install dpkg-dev fakeroot build-essential rcs bzr cdbs debhelper python-all-dev

now check out the code

bzr co http://bazaar.launchpad.net/~helder-fraga/screenlets/Screenlets-new

(that should be one line)

You should now have a new directory in your Home called Screenlets-new

Now cd to that directory

cd Screenlets-new/

Now to build the deb

dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot

Now if you open your Home folder you should have a nice deb sitting there for you. Double click it to install.

When I went to install the deb package I got some nasty looking errors and was told that the package failed to install, however the Screenlets still worked. So not sure what that was about.

Quick Way

After checking the code out from bazaar

cd Screenlets-new/

sudo python setup.py install

This will install Screenlets directly into your system without building a deb package. I would recommend trying to build the deb first as it just makes managing the software so much easier.

What’s new? A bunch of new Screenlets πŸ™‚ as well as some new code to make Screenlets work without the need for a Composite Manager such as Compiz. Whoohoo! I can finally get some eye-candy on my old laptop. πŸ˜€

Compiz 0.6.2 Backported to Gutsy

Well a few updates just came down out of the Gutsy backports. These happened to be Compiz 0.6.2 πŸ˜€

compiz (1:0.6.0+git20071008-0ubuntu1.1) to 1:0.6.2+git20071119-0ubuntu1~gutsy1
compiz-core (1:0.6.0+git20071008-0ubuntu1.1) to 1:0.6.2+git20071119-0ubuntu1~gutsy1
compiz-fusion-plugins-extra (0.5.2+git20070928-0ubuntu1) to 0.6.0+git20071121-0ubuntu1~gutsy1
compiz-gnome (1:0.6.0+git20071008-0ubuntu1.1) to 1:0.6.2+git20071119-0ubuntu1~gutsy1
compiz-plugins (1:0.6.0+git20071008-0ubuntu1.1) to 1:0.6.2+git20071119-0ubuntu1~gutsy1
libdecoration0 (1:0.6.0+git20071008-0ubuntu1.1) to 1:0.6.2+git20071119-0ubuntu1~gutsy1

If you would like to update your Compiz, Simply enable the Gutsy Backports repository by going System→Administration→Software Sources. Go to the Updates tab and enable the Gutsy Backports


Reload the Software Sources when prompted. You should then receive an update notification. Have fun πŸ˜€

One of the things I noticed is that the drop shadow offset now works properly when adjusted.

Gnome 2.20.1 in Gutsy

This is a short one πŸ˜›

By enabling the Gutsy Proposed Updates, you will see bits and pieces of Gnome 2.20.1 starting to come down. πŸ˜€



Just, a warning. These updates are called Proposed for a reason. They are mainly for testing purposes and they can sometimes cause breakage. If you enable this repository you are doing so at your own risk. They will eventually come through the regular updates. But it’s also a good way to help with testing new packages πŸ˜‰

Edit: Gnome 2.20.1 is now officially in Ubuntu Gutsy πŸ˜€

Getting Intel ICH8 Family (rev 03) Sound Card to Work in Gutsy

Update 2:

This how-to is very old. If you have this sound card and sound is not working for you with the latest version of Ubuntu (currently 10.04) this guide will not help you. Please file a bug report on Launchpad.


If you are going to upgrade to Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron you will notice that it will want to remove the linux-backports-modules package.Β  This is OK.Β  Doing so will not affect your sound since it now works out of the “box” with 8.04. πŸ˜€


There’s currently a bug in the latest stable version of the ALSA drivers (1.0.14). There is no sound with a HDA Intel ICH8 Family (rev 03) sound card.

00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)
        Subsystem: Hewlett-Packard Company Unknown device 30cc
        Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 23
        Memory at f8500000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16K]
        Capabilities: [50] Power Management version 2
        Capabilities: [60] Message Signalled Interrupts: Mask- 64bit+ Queue=0/0 Enable-
        Capabilities: [70] Express Unknown type IRQ 0

There was no sound in Feisty and the only way to get it working was to compile ALSA with the special instructions here along with a custom patch for the Realtek codec which you had to go digging through the ALSA bug tracking system to find. Anyways a lot of work to get sound working in Feisty.

But now that Gutsy is out, there still is no sound out of the virtual “box”. πŸ˜› However, getting sound to work is extremely easy now. The issue was fixed in the latest development version of ALSA (1.0.15rc3), but Gutsy ships with 1.0.14. Compiling ALSA is not necessary to get sound working anymore. In fact, doing so would only cause more problems due to the fact that when you compile ALSA, it places a module in one place while Ubuntu has that same module, but a different version, in a different place causing a bunch of conflicts and in the end, no sound.

So in order to fix this all you need to do is open the Software Properties, go to the Updates tab, and enable the Gutsy Backports.

(click for a larger view)

Click the Reload button when prompted.

Then just run this command
sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-generic

If you are running a different kernel, such as the i386 kernel, replace generic with i386. The default install uses a generic kernel. Reboot and you should have sound working. πŸ˜€

The reason it works is because that package contains ALSA 1.0.15rc3

This worked for me on an HP Pavilion dv6500t laptop

(Edit: Gutsy Proposed Updates is not needed for this.)