KGoldrunner still silenced in KDE 4.6

Ian Wadham at
Mon Apr 25 06:38:01 BST 2011

Hello Harald,

It's nice to meet you again.  I had been hoping you would come
by.  We met earlier in January and you were helping me then.

You suggested I write to this list, but I was getting stuck in
moderation for days, so much so that I did not expect that
it would be much easier to subscribe to the list ... :-)  I also
sent you some emails direct, in response to yours, but never
heard back.  I guess they looked like spam.  Then a life-or-
death family emergency blew up and I had to drop everything
and run...  All that is almost back to normal now I am glad to say.

On Sunday 24 April 2011 7:31:56 pm Harald Sitter wrote:
> 2011/4/23 Ian Wadham < at>:
> > Please could someone have a look at the log of Phonon debug
> > that I sent three days ago?  I attach a second copy of the log,
> > for convenience.
> The logs do not contain any debug from Phonon itself... it would
> appear that either you did not have all debug vars set, or you are not
> loading the right libphonon.
Sorry, but this seems incorrect on all three counts.  The PGST messages
are issued by line 473 of phonon-gstreamer/gstreamer/backend.cpp.  If
I do not have the debug variables set, they do not appear.  The debug
variables I am using are as you recommended in January and as in
the Phonon debug page on Techbase.  Namely:

    export PHONON_DEBUG=5
    export PHONON_VLC_DEBUG=5
    export PHONON_GST_DEBUG=5
    export PHONON_XINE_DEBUG=5

I could try export PHONON_GST_GST_DEBUG=5 if you like.

Finally, ldd shows that KGoldrunner is linked to
/extra/kdedev/kde/lib/, in my development area, and that is
a link to  I obtained phonon and phonon-gstreamer
from anongit via the kdesrc-build script.  To see if I am picking up the
correct phonon-gstreamer I prepended my initials to the "PGST"
string, re-built and re-installed, and sure enough the log now says
"IDW PGST" everywhere.  

> > Until I know what is wrong with "Phonon/my installation/my distro"
> > and can fix it, I am having to leave sound disabled in the KDE 4.6
> > release of the KGoldrunner game.
> OpenSUSE 11.2 goes EOL in May, that is what would appear to be wrong
> with your audio. The Linux audio stack is such an incredibly
> complicated thing [1] that there is absolutely no way of ever getting
> to the bottom of things as long as you insist on using an almost
> legacy version of your operating system.
Well, that just says I will receive no more automatic updates after May.
Calling it end of life and legacy is like saying that graduating from
University is end of life because you receive no more automatic updates
to your education.  Anyway, a lifetime of successful debugging of
difficult problems in on-line systems has taught me that changing
horses in mid stream rarely does more than complicate the issue.

> In particular from what I have read it sounds like a "perfect" example
> of broken driver. The fact that no one on the team has been able to
> reproduce the problem also suggests that it is rather a setup problem
> than an issue with Phonon or the GStreamer backed.
I see no other evidence of a broken driver.  I do not use sound much,
but it works when I do.  I can play video clips and TV episodes OK and
CDs with Kaffeine or KsCD.  I do not use Amarok at all, though.

In particular KDE 4.3.5 Phonon can play KGoldrunner sounds reasonably
well, but not perfectly.  Also the gst-launch and gst123 utilities can play my
KGr sounds without error.  AFAICR KGr sounds also worked OK in KDE 4.5.
It is only since the transition to KDE 4.6 that the problem has blown up so 
badly for me and it only happens in games built with Phonon.

Just before the KDE 4.6 release I asked members of the KDE Games
team to see if they had the problem.  Only one tried it, but he got an
immediate crash if sound was enabled.  So that is why I disabled it
completely in KGoldrunner for the KDE 4.6 release.

I am quite happy to pursue the broken driver hypothesis if someone
can recommend a test suite of some kind.  I need evidence to convince
me about it.  Meanwhile here are some other hypotheses:

 - My sound hardware is an old model (6 years maybe).  Maybe
   Phonon+GStreamer exercises it in ways it has not been exercised before.

 - Phonon has changed a lot recently, in particular in changing from
   Xine to GStreamer as preferred backend.  My sound setup has not
   changed.  Maybe Phonon has regressed in some way that affects
   only me (so far).  In support of this, I have a log from January that
   shows fewer messages than present Phonon and there are no
   GStreamer-CRITICAL messages in it.  My sound from Phonon and
   GStreamer was bad then, but has got worse.

 - Maybe something in the way Phonon is programmed in KGoldrunner
   is deprecated or undesirable now, however that code has not changed
   in several KDE releases.  Counter-evidence is that Granatier,
   another game, shows the same errors in my setup, but is coded quite
   differently.  Granatier is supposed to compile and build with OpenAL
   but will fall back to Phonon if the OpenAL and sndfile libraries are not
   found, as in my system.

 - Maybe I have not built and installed Phonon correctly.  For
   counter-evidence see above.  I have sweated blood to follow
   the suggestions you put to me in January, Harald.

> [1]
Heh, heh!  Looks like the organisation chart of a Government
Department I know ... :-)

Hoping you can help further or suggest some further tests.

All the best, Ian W.

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