Only one sound source at the time works.

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Only one sound source at the time works.
Not that long ago things used to be good. Things used to work nice. I was happy. My desktop was happy. Then, at some point during the summer, something went wrong. I can't remember when exactly it happened, but at some point a poison pill came from the updates, my computer got a bad trip. No error messages, warnings or anything else to prepare me for what was coming.
My hotkeys in sawfish for changing the volume just stopped working. After a while of scratching my head, I noticed that the mixer device that used to be in /dev just isn't there anymore. Gone like a fart in the desert. No idea how to get it back.
And if that wasn't enough, the sound also got generally cranky. If I have a youtube or any other similar tab open in my browser, totem is mute. So, if I want to watch a movie or listen to a music and it's not working, I have to figure out which one of the damn browser tabs has decided to hijack my audio and close it. It's sort of a problem in modern multitasking environment.
Any useful ideas? And no, reinstalling the system is not one.
If I get this back working, I swear to god I will never ever run updates again.
Repaly
jpalan wrote:However, flash still seems to hijack everything.
Instead of guessing, start playing mplayer and some flash source (youtube or whatever) and post the output of  'fuser -v /dev/snd/*'.
Is your mplayer using alsa? 'cat ~/.mplayer/config' might have the answer (if you use the config) or just check mplayer output:
==========================================================================
Opening audio decoder: [mpg123] MPEG 1.0/2.0/2.5 layers I, II, III
AUDIO: 44100 Hz, 2 ch, s16le, 128.0 kbit/9.07% (ratio: 16000->176400)
Selected audio codec: [mpg123] afm: mpg123 (MPEG 1.0/2.0/2.5 layers I, II, III)
==========================================================================
AO: [alsa] 48000Hz 2ch s16le (2 bytes per sample)
Video: no video
Starting playback...
See that
AO: [alsa] 48000Hz 2ch s16le (2 bytes per sample)
- I have configured mplayer to use alsa.
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