audio skips under IO load, doesn't resume where it stopped

Bug #112484 reported by Alex Mauer on 2007-05-04
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
ubuntu-meta (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: rhythmbox

When I'm playing music and the system is under heavy load, rhythmbox audio output skips (typically installing a package in the background is enough to do this).

Unfortunately, when the audio resumes, it doesn't resume where it left off but rather where it would have been if it hadn't skipped. Skipping audio is bad enough, but the fact that skipping causes me to miss some of the track is really really annoying.

Alex Mauer (hawke) on 2007-05-04
description: updated
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

not an application bug, not sure if what could be done, IO are not easy to manage, likely a bug that will not be easily fixed

I'm not concerned with the skipping itself (that's perfectly understandable), but with the fact that it then doesn't resume in the same place where it left off.

Till Ulen (tillulen) wrote :

I observe plenty of skipping on Pentium III 666 MHz with 256 MB of RAM, 1 GB of swap, and a Seagate ST340016A hard disk, running Rhythmbox on Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn.

Anyone has any idea what part of software is responsible for (1) the skipping per se; (2) not resuming in the same place where it left off? I would like to find some work-around for this bug. For example, would it help to increase the buffer size for decoded audio? Why?

Fred (eldmannen+launchpad) wrote :

I've also noticed skips. It is not so often it happens, and its only very short skips.
But I have a Intel Core 2 Duo 6420, its 2.13 GHz with 4gb RAM, and 500gb 7200rpm SATA disk.

Completely unacceptable. It never happens on Windows.

Fred (eldmannen+launchpad) wrote :

Also, not only my audio sometimes skips.
But also sometimes my mouse cursor stops move for a second.

It happen sometimes when I do;
$ sudo apt-get check && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade && sudo apt-get clean && sudo apt-get autoclean && sudo apt-get autoremove

gray (info-graydesigns) wrote :

I have even got a skip when merely minimising or maximising another app - for example my typical session would include rhythmbox, evolution, pidgin and firefox - I have not yet fiddled with any of the services as yet - to improve matters, but in any case this is a reasonably responsive system in XP (pentium 4 2.66 Ghz cpu with 768 megs ram with an FX550 nvidia graphics card) - granted not fancy, but not a dog.

This is a totally fresh stock standard install, plus all updates of the Hardy release candidate - only one thing has been added - the nvidia module so I don't have to reset the monitor when I boot between Winxp and Ubuntu. The sound files are pure ogg so no new codecs have been added either.

I really think the buffer size could be increased, or allow the user to increase it in the settings someplace.


gray (info-graydesigns) wrote :

OK I have removed the following services from startup:

Bluetooth device management
CPU frequency management
Power management - apmd (acpid is left on)
Printer service

and then from the user's session options I removed:
Bluetooth manager
Evolution alarm notifier
Network manager applet
Power manager
Print queue applet
Tracker applet

the result has been that I can minimise and maximise frantically - with no skipping.

the snag I have here is that while I personally don't need these services, a laptop user might, or an office worker - so there does need to be some way to allow rhythmbox to be more "forgiving".

thanks for the hard work !

Bjørn Sandåker (prognatus) wrote :

I beleive this is related to bug #236141 (see my comment there) and that it's the kernel which simply prioritizes I/O operations. In the kernel team people have left frustrated over this and the unwillingness from the team to do anything about it.

Sebastian, what should be done, in my opinion, is for the kernel team to design the kernel so that it can be run in different modes - at least desktop and server modes - so that user interfaces like video, sound, mouse, keyboard are prioritized in the desktop mode, and file I/O in the server mode. Further, it should be possible for the user to switch between modes at kernel startup. No recompilation should be necessarry for this to work. In the mean time, until the kernel team admits this has to be done (which probably will never happen), the Ubuntu kernel team should consider patching the kernel themselves.

Bryan Quigley (bryanquigley) wrote :

Thanks for reporting this bug and helping make Ubuntu better. Ubuntu and the audio system have undergone major changes in the last 6 years so I'm going to go ahead and close this bug. If you can still reproduce, feel free to reopen.

Changed in ubuntu-meta (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Invalid
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