I previously mentioned I was affected by a couple Debian bugs. I've managed to fix the sound one. Previously, I was using the module dmasound_pmac to do my sound. Well, that's an OSS driver, and while it still has the bug with the symbol conflict, I discovered that there's an ALSA driver that works better and seems to be better maintained.

I might as well describe OSS vs. ALSA. OSS stands for Open Sound System. It's the "legacy" Linux sound system, deprecated with the 2.6 kernel, but in general you can emulate OSS if you're using ALSA as your main sound system.

OSS is what makes /dev/dsp, the sound device that applications often open in order to play sounds. The OSS API seems to specify that the DSP can only be opened by one process at once. ALSA provides the devices in /dev/snd, and I don't think it has the same opening problem (I hear gaim noises when I'm playing music now).

Anyway, I fixed my Powerbook sound by changing from the OSS modules to the ALSA one. It's called snd_powermac and it modprobed just fine. I started Rhythmbox and it figured out that I was using ALSA without having to tell it. I then updated /etc/modules, got rid of dmasound_pmac, and added snd_powermac, and I was in good shape. Yay!

It also fixed an issue I had with Rhythmbox. I had only recently switched from AmaroK to Rhythmbox, and with the OSS driver Rhythmbox would "hiccup" when playing a song and something else wanted the CPU -- even though it was only taking 5% of CPU time, it had too much contention. Changing to the ALSA driver fixed it.