No audio when logging in as second user. Only dummy audio device seen

Bug #1814964 reported by Chris on 2019-02-06
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
pulseaudio (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Laptop with multiple user accounts.

Logging in as any user has working audio, but if that session is locked and a second user logs in, the second user gets no sound.

Workaround is for both users to log out and 2nd user to log in a fresh session. Obviously a problem if you cant log in as the first user.

No sound hardware is shown in the MATE sound preferences, output pane only shows "dummy output".

Looking at 'top' or system monitor shows that 1st user pulseaudio is running, but 2nd user pulseaudio is sleeping.

$ lspci -nnk | grep -A2 Audio
00:1b.0 Audio device [0403]: Intel Corporation 5 Series/3400 Series Chipset High Definition Audio [8086:3b57] (rev 05)
 Subsystem: Dell 5 Series/3400 Series Chipset High Definition Audio [1028:0410]
 Kernel driver in use: snd_hda_intel
 Kernel modules: snd_hda_intel

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 18.04
Package: pulseaudio 1:11.1-1ubuntu7.1
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 4.15.0-45.48-generic 4.15.18
Uname: Linux 4.15.0-45-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.20.9-0ubuntu7.5
Architecture: amd64
AudioDevicesInUse: Error: command ['fuser', '-v', '/dev/snd/by-path', '/dev/snd/hwC0D3', '/dev/snd/hwC0D0', '/dev/snd/pcmC0D7p', '/dev/snd/pcmC0D3p', '/dev/snd/pcmC0D0c', '/dev/snd/pcmC0D0p', '/dev/snd/controlC0', '/dev/snd/seq', '/dev/snd/timer'] failed with exit code 1:
CurrentDesktop: MATE
Date: Wed Feb 6 21:19:25 2019
InstallationDate: Installed on 2018-11-12 (86 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu-MATE 18.04.1 LTS "Bionic Beaver" - Release amd64 (20180725)
SourcePackage: pulseaudio
Symptom: audio
Symptom_Card: HDA-Intel - HDA Intel
Symptom_Jack: Speaker, Internal
Title: [Latitude E4310, IDT 92HD81B1X5, Speaker, Internal] Pulseaudio fails to detect card
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install) 05/12/2017
dmi.bios.vendor: Dell Inc.
dmi.bios.version: A15 0T6M8G
dmi.board.vendor: Dell Inc.
dmi.board.version: A00
dmi.chassis.type: 9
dmi.chassis.vendor: Dell Inc.
dmi.modalias: dmi:bvnDellInc.:bvrA15:bd05/12/2017:svnDellInc.:pnLatitudeE4310:pvr0001:rvnDellInc.:rn0T6M8G:rvrA00:cvnDellInc.:ct9:cvr: Latitude E4310
dmi.product.version: 0001
dmi.sys.vendor: Dell Inc.

Chris (chrisonbuntu) wrote :
Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt) wrote :

Please run this command:

  dpkg -l > allpackages.txt

and send us the resulting file 'allpackages.txt'.

Changed in pulseaudio (Ubuntu):
status: New → Incomplete
Chris (chrisonbuntu) wrote :

Sorry for the slow reply! See attached.

Changed in pulseaudio (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → New
Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt) wrote :

Thanks. It appears this isn't the problem I thought it was.

Instead it sounds like pulseaudio is opening the audio device(s) exclusively and can't share them between sessions.

I'm not sure but I suspect a shared pulseaudio daemon is possible and might avoid that problem. It looks like you can enable:

 daemonize = yes

in /etc/pulse/daemon.conf

But now I am guessing.

Chris (chrisonbuntu) wrote :

Thanks Daniel for the suggestion, I'll try it. The audio issue doesnt always happen and I can't spot exactly what the triggers are, this morning 3 sessions are all working fine.

any suggestion for what to do if it occurs again? 'kill all pulseaudio' doesnt help, neither does asking it to restart.

I wonder if the bug is actually elsewhere, as the other issue i see is when plugging in a usb drive - another session will try to mount it, but fail to get access permission and a window pops up asking for admin login/pwd. that happens in the background session, the front session just shows a window saying failed to mount. Coincidence? Ive seen that bug before with ubuntu and mint going back to distros built on 16.04LTS, but still see it on occasion today.

Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt) wrote :

No I have no more ideas on the audio issue. In fact if "The audio issue doesnt always happen" then that suggests even comment #4 might not work.

As for USB issues, please log them as separate bugs. One bug per problem.

Chris (chrisonbuntu) wrote :

Understood. I wont have daemonize=yes set, I will wait until the bug next occurs.

Is there anything i can do run to troubleshoot further?

Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt) wrote :

A quick Google shows some hints:

If we are to follow upstream's recommendations then that would make this bug "Won't Fix". Because the only solution they provide is also one they don't recommend.

However I don't find that conclusion satisfactory when probably no other OS has this problem. So I will leave this bug open.

Changed in pulseaudio (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Low
status: New → Triaged
Chris (chrisonbuntu) wrote :

thats actually really useful information. the Arch link in particular. think i am happy to have my family members able to change volume etc, but not sure how to set up a systemd service.

think i will just log everyone out when the bug happens, at least starting a new session gets the sound working again.

Chris (chrisonbuntu) wrote :

I was reading more about pulseaudio and saw this on one of the Arch pages:
"PulseAudio uses udev and logind to give access dynamically to the currently "active" user"

could it be this which is not happening correctly? I started looking at udev and logind documentation and dont know where to start.

The previous line quoted above, was about not needing to have a user being member of the "audio" group. Thought I would check, and strange! my account is the only one NOT in the audio group.

Ive added my user in and will report back if that fixes it. (my user was the default admin one created on ubuntu install).

Chris (chrisonbuntu) wrote :

ah, sadly not. added my user to audio group, logged in/out and still dont get sound (my wife's session is running in the background)

I'll try a reboot and see if that works.

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