Turbulent Sky
Tech Tips, Tricks and Solutions


For some reason, Pidgin, which is included in Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon, has no notification sounds even though other applications do play properly. Whether I selected Automatic or ALSA as the output method, no sounds would play. Here’s how I fixed it.

  1. In Pidgin, select Preferences from the Tools menu (or press Ctrl+P)
  2. Click on the Sounds tab
  3. In the Method drop down list, select Command
  4. In the Sound command text box, enter the following: aplay %s
  5. Select an event with an assigned sound from the Sound Events list
  6. Click the Test button. You should now hear the notification sound
  7. Click the Close button

Aplay is the command-line ALSA sound player. I tested it on the command line and it played audio files just fine. So, it also works in Pidgin.

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  • shlongwoodian says:

    works perfectly! sound was already there, but when set to “Automatic,” i would lose sound only in Pidgin from time to time. a restart of Pidgin would solve it. last time it dropped, i searched google and found this. i can toggle between “Automatic” and “Command” + aplay %s and the latter always works.


    Ubuntu 8.10 – the Intrepid Ibex

  • The.Vortex says:

    Thanks a lot! Works on Kubuntu 9.04, too :)

  • Simon Peatman says:

    I’m using Kubuntu 8.04 LTS, and this is exactly what I was looking for – thanks!!

  • InitHello says:

    Fixed pidgin sounds for me in kubuntu 9.10[*], as well. Huzzah!

    [*] yes, I know karmic is development/unstable right now, but it was broken in 9.04 as well.

  • Peter Ridge says:

    Wow, didn’t know it was still an issue. Good to hear you were able to get sound working. Hopefully, it’ll be resolved soon.

  • Pike says:

    This fix works in Karmic as well, thank you!!

  • fuzetsu490 says:

    Well its pretty clear that this fix works with any pidgin install that doesnt have sound, but i’ll say it anyway. Worked with puppy linux 4.3.1 thanks!

  • inkadu says:

    Works for OpenSUSE, too.

  • darkstar says:

    Nice job! Wish the Pidgin developers had done a better job of testing and configuring it before they released it. Doesn’t reflect well on their software development methodology….

  • Thanks! This works great! I wonder what my coworkers will do now that they don’t hear my head beating against the wall…

  • Bob says:

    Thank you Peter, 100% Fix.

  • Jim penn says:

    Thanks, Peter! Fixed in Kubuntu 9.10. Kinda hard to do the whole asynchronous communication thing when you have to stare at the chat window for the whole session. You just saved me a ton of frustration.

  • Peter Ridge says:

    Thanks for the note of success. May you have many frustration-free chats. :)

  • Xyzzy says:

    Thank you — just solved the problem for me in SimplyMEPIS 8.5!

  • Miguel Ortuño says:

    Thank you. Fixed in Lubuntu 11.10

  • Erick says:

    Wow, this is from 2007 and it still helped me. Thank you very much!
    Arch Linux KDE 4.5.

  • Gihan says:

    Thank you very much. It helped me to fix pidigin sound problem in lubuntu 12.10.

  • Peter Ridge says:

    @Gihan: You’re welcome. It’s surprising it’s still a problem in the recent distro.

  • FrF says:

    Re Gihan: I had the same problem in Lubuntu 13.10. Thank you Peter :-)

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