Switch from Ubuntu to Debian and now Jacksense doesn’t work

Nov 19th, 2011 | By | Category: Linux / Freebsd

For those of you that don’t know jacksense is when your computer detects when headphones have been plugged in.. Meaning that it should mute the main speakers automatically so the audio is coming out of the headphones only.  When this doesn’t work audio will come out of both the headphones and the speakers.. Annoying as hell and probably my biggest issue this year with linux since Ubuntu 10.10.

After about a year of no jacksense on my Acer-aspire 5253 with Ubuntu 10.10 I finally fixed it when I upgraded to 11.10 and added this to my alsa-base.conf: options snd-hda-intel model=,asus (and yes that , is supposed to be infront of asus).

Now while that was a major victory in it’s own right it was overshadowed by the absolute nightmare that was Ubuntu 11.10.  Let’s put it this way, 11.10 was so incredibly offensive that after nearly 3 years with Ubuntu, the OS that I completely ditched Windows for, the OS with which my true love and appreciation for linux as a whole blossomed out of, I threw it in the can and moved onto Debian.

So here I am with Debian Squeeze 64 and lo and behold the bloody jacksense reverts back to it’s old non-workign state.  UGH!  So tonight was the night, I had some major issues to fix with my sound card and this was the big one.. Putting that line in my alsa-base.conf didn’t work and neither did about 100 other solutions and then I started thinking.  What the hell could be different about this Debian release and Ubuntu 11? I mean they are so close in almost every way, what could be different enough to cause this and likewise what could be different from 10.10 where jacksense didn’t work to 11.10 where it did work.  What changes with a distro upgrade like that?  Well if they upgraded the distro, what if they upgraded alsa?  So I checked the Debian version of alsa and sure enough it was 1.012 or something old like that and the latest version of alsa is 1.024.  I had a hopeful ah HA moment and begun to upgrade alsa(after uninstalling it first).  Got 1.024 installed, made sure that line: (options snd-hda-intel model=,asus was in the alsa-base.conf), rebooted and VIOLA! it works.. Works like a bloody charm!

I got my upgrading instructions from here: http://monespaceperso.org/blog-en/2010/05/02/upgrade-alsa-1-0-23-on-ubuntu-lucid-lynx-10-04/ but I’ll paste them below for convenience(It should be noted that I couldn’t get alsa-utils to install but it didn’t seem to make a difference):


Installation :

To do this, we must begin by determining our version of alsa as follows :

cat /proc/asound/version
Advanced Linux Sound Architecture Driver Version 1.0.21.

To avoid problems during the upgrade of Alsa-utils, we need to stop it with the following command :

sudo /sbin/alsa-utils stop

We must then install the necessary tools to compile along with the kernel headers :

sudo apt-get -y install build-essential ncurses-dev gettext xmlto libasound2-dev
sudo apt-get -y install linux-headers-`uname -r` libncursesw5-dev

Then, we go in our personal folder and download alsa-driver, alsa-lib and alsa-utils :

cd ~
rm -rf ~/alsa* ~/.pulse*
wget ftp://ftp.alsa-project.org/pub/driver/alsa-driver-1.0.23.tar.bz2
wget ftp://ftp.alsa-project.org/pub/lib/alsa-lib-1.0.23.tar.bz2
wget ftp://ftp.alsa-project.org/pub/utils/alsa-utils-1.0.23.tar.bz2

After that, we create a new folder for the compilation and installation of the 3 files. Then, we move the 3 tar files that we just downloaded in this folder :

sudo rm -rf /usr/src/alsa
sudo mkdir -p /usr/src/alsa
cd /usr/src/alsa
sudo cp ~/alsa* .

Unpack the 3 tar files :

sudo tar xjf alsa-driver*
sudo tar xjf alsa-lib*
sudo tar xjf alsa-utils*

We compile and install alsa-driver :

cd alsa-driver*
sudo ./configure
sudo make
sudo make install

We compile and install alsa-lib :

cd ../alsa-lib*
sudo ./configure
sudo make
sudo make install

We compile and install alsa-utils :

cd ../alsa-utils*
sudo ./configure
sudo make
sudo make install

Then, we remove the 3 tar files in our personal folder that are not anymore necessary :

rm -f ~/alsa-driver*
rm -f ~/alsa-lib*
rm -f ~/alsa-utils*

Then, just restart your computer and your alsa version should be 1.0.23!

You can verify that you have now indeed have this version of alsa :

cat /proc/asound/version
Advanced Linux Sound Architecture Driver Version 1.0.23.
Compiled on May 2 2010 for kernel 2.6.32-21-generic (SMP).

Just to be sure everything is well configured, execute this command :

sudo alsaconf

and reboot again!

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