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Thread: Broken Sound Menu in 12.04, Pulseaudio daemon startup fails

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Distro
    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Broken Sound Menu in 12.04, Pulseaudio daemon startup fails

    Hello,

    On Ubuntu 12.04 / Unity, the sound menu breaks every 2 or 3 days in at least one of my user profiles.
    The machine can still play sound but it cannot be controlled by the sound menu, which displays the Mute icon.

    When this happens, there is no pulseaudio process in the session.

    Code:
    pulseaudio --start
    fails with:

    E: [pulseaudio] main.c: Daemon startup failed.

    I attached a pulseaudio verbose log. It contains:
    ( 0.013| 0.000) E: [pulseaudio] module-udev-detect.c: inotify_init1() failed: Too many open files
    ( 0.013| 0.000) E: [pulseaudio] module.c: Failed to load module "module-udev-detect" (argument: ""): initialization failed.
    Kernel: 3.2.0-36-generic
    pulseaudio 1.1
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    40
    Distro
    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Broken Sound Menu in 12.04, Pulseaudio daemon startup fails

    It turns out that after raising the value of

    Code:
    fs.inotify.max_user_instances
    in /etc/sysctl.d or /etc/sysctl.conf and
    Code:
    sudo sysctl -p
    then pulseaudio --start succeeds and the sound menu is back in shape.

    Still, this does not explain why pulseaudio had crashed or failed to start in one user profile (with the inotify-related limits error message) while (this time at least) it was running fine in another user profile.

    This problem had never occurred before.
    Does anyone have an idea ?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Beans
    1

    Re: Broken Sound Menu in 12.04, Pulseaudio daemon startup fails

    I have this exact same problem and it is driving me nuts. The sound will not work for the default user but will work for any other user on the system including the guest account. I can even create new users and the sound will work for those accounts, but not the default user account. The only thing that fixes it is a reboot.

    I looked at those files you referenced and the line "fs.inotify.max_user_instances"
    does not appear in any of the /etc/sysctl.d files or in /etc/sysctl.conf.

    The closest thing I found was "fs.inotify.max_user_watches". I am confused. More confusing is that there does not seem to be a fix for this problem.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    11,070

    Re: Broken Sound Menu in 12.04, Pulseaudio daemon startup fails

    Perhaps removing the problematic user's pulse files (so fresh ones get generated) will help?
    Code:
    rm -r ~/.pulse*; pulseaudio -k

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Beans
    40
    Distro
    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Broken Sound Menu in 12.04, Pulseaudio daemon startup fails

    Quote Originally Posted by tswltd View Post
    I have this exact same problem and it is driving me nuts. The sound will not work for the default user but will work for any other user on the system including the guest account. I can even create new users and the sound will work for those accounts, but not the default user account. The only thing that fixes it is a reboot.

    I looked at those files you referenced and the line "fs.inotify.max_user_instances"
    does not appear in any of the /etc/sysctl.d files or in /etc/sysctl.conf.

    The closest thing I found was "fs.inotify.max_user_watches". I am confused. More confusing is that there does not seem to be a fix for this problem.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    I created a file /etc/sysctl.d/10-inotify.conf to raise the value of "fs.inotify.max_user_instances" (it was 128 before). The value can be checked with:
    cat /proc/sys/fs/inotify/max_user_instances.

    I did that because logs produced by an attempt to start pulseaudio in verbose mode (see https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PulseAudio/Log) contained an error message about inotify:

    Code:
    [pulseaudio] module-udev-detect.c: inotify_init1() failed: Too many open files
    This does not explain the phenomenon, but now at least it does not take a reboot to get pulseaudio. Perhaps a bug should be filed on launchpad.
    Last edited by spazzeri; February 6th, 2013 at 09:31 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Beans
    40
    Distro
    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Broken Sound Menu in 12.04, Pulseaudio daemon startup fails

    @Temüjin: Apparently it did not do the trick. That said I had tried rm -r ~/.pulse, not ~/.pulse*.
    Last edited by spazzeri; February 6th, 2013 at 09:35 PM.

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