[Ekiga-list] call recording / ekiga too tightly on ALSA?

Viktor Cato_Minor at arcor.de
Tue Sep 12 13:01:57 UTC 2006


I read the "call recording" thread three days ago with great interest,
as I'm crawling the net how to do this for some hours now. I see various
possibilities, however no one has worked for me. Attention, this is a
longer posting ;-)

(1) vsound (using Ekiga with OSS)

Doesn't work, Ekiga can't get the sound ("Could not open audio channel
for audio reception"). Probably vsound is only suitable for capturing
audio *output* anyway - we want both output and the input from the

(2) Direct recording from the ALSA system

Apparently, this has worked for someone:
and he has created a podcast with ekiga.
However, I wasn't able to reproduce this, probably because I lack deep
understanding of ecasound and the ALSA system.

(3) Sniffing the VoIP packets

"Voipong" was mentioned in the thread three days ago; I didn't try this,
because I hoped to find something less intrusive and more connected to
the audio system. And, well, there wasn't a convenient Debian package
ready ;-)

(4) JACK

I was very impressed by seeing the JACK audio connection system. In
fact, apparently people can record Skype using that:

Connecting a recording software to an audio output is very easy and even
graphical. However, I wasn't able to make Ekiga speak to JACK. I tried
two ways:

(3a) Attaching a "pcm.jackdump" device to the ALSA c
as described e.g. here:  
This works well on the command-line, I can say
aplay -D jackdump myfile.wav
and it's played and shown as a JACK connection inside qjackctl.
But ekiga doesn't show that new ALSA device, it only lists hardware
devices and doesn't let me enter my own (maybe for a good reason,
however some people say that software generally shouldn't do that (in
the nabble.com thread above)).

(3b) Using artsd connected to JACK and artswrapper starting ekiga and
speaking to artsd

Now we have yet another intermediate level, but still, ekiga remains
silent: No test sounds are played. I think artswrapper is a wrapper for
OSS only, nonetheless I tried Ekiga with both OSS and ALSA - without

So, finally, might it be that Ekiga uses ALSA a little bit too tightly?
I can, for example, play music from Amarok and XMMS at the same time,
I'm using a recent ALSA (which includes dmix) and have both programs set
to use ALSA.

But if I'm playing music from XMMS and start Ekiga/ALSA, I get "Could
not open audio channel for audio reception" when a call arrives. (By the
way, Ekiga works perfectly if it's the only ALSA client, not that you
start to think that my installation is messed up ;-)

This leads me to the conclusion that Ekiga uses ALSA in quite a
"blocking" way. Or are there people having Ekiga accepting connections
while they are e.g. listening to music? If that were possible, I think I
could manage recording the conversation via JACK (and write a howto).

Thank you for reading - I couldn't make it shorter, it's that
complicated! - 
have a nice week,

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