Archive for April 8th, 2009

Xubuntu Multimedia Keyboard Keys

I still haven’t figured out why the audio volume & mute keys on my desktop box’s keyboard don’t work, but this process sets ’em up on my Dell Inspiron E1405 laptop… which I just reloaded with Xubuntu / XFCE 4.6 using more-or-less the procedure described starting there, including saving, blowing away, repartitioning, and restoring the Windows partition.

If the audio mixer icon doesn’t show up on the top XFCE panel, other-click the panel -> Add New Items -> Mixer to get it there.

Then do System Settings -> Keyboard -> Layout. Verify that you’re using the default system keyboard layout, as that’s what I’m doing on the laptop and it works. The desktop, now, that’s another matter; I think having two X sessions confuses it mightily.

Then click the Application Shortcuts tab, click Add, and type in each of these…

  • amixer sset Master 10%+
  • amixer sset Master 10%-
  • amixer sset Master toggle

For each command, click OK after typing. You’ll get another pop-up, at which point you press the corresponding volume / mute key.

Note that the Master keyword is case-sensitive and may be something entirely different on your box. Use amixer to find out what you should be typing, thusly:

Simple mixer control 'Master',0
  Capabilities: pvolume pswitch
  Playback channels: Front Left - Front Right
  Limits: Playback 0 - 31
  Front Left: Playback 27 [87%] [-6.00dB] [on]
  Front Right: Playback 27 [87%] [-6.00dB] [on]
Simple mixer control 'PCM',0
  Capabilities: pvolume
  Playback channels: Front Left - Front Right
  Limits: Playback 0 - 255
  Front Left: Playback 245 [96%] [-2.00dB]
  Front Right: Playback 245 [96%] [-2.00dB]
... snippage ...

Shazam: audio control should then Just Work…

The irony of having to futz around that much before having something Just Work is not lost on me. Really.