Tech Tip: Muting loud Hardware Beep under Ubuntu Linux

20 06 2009

Posting this one for the masses of humanity out there that are just slobbering for a quick fix to this problem.
There’s a twitchy problem in GTK under Linux regarding sound that sometimes lets the ‘bell’ sound get handled by the motherboard beep – a sound that is INSANELY LOUD, and no amount of muting, volume adjustment, or sound board fiddling will silence it.
The beep can happen during ‘vi’ sessions, in Eclipse when ‘search’ fails to find something, in X-chat when backspacing to the beginning of the line, or in Pidgin during the same situation.
The fix is remarkably simple. Tell the X-server to mute the hardware beep:

xset -b b 0

To check to see if it’s set, use the ‘xset -q’ command:

dbs@clipper:~$ xset -q
Keyboard Control:
auto repeat:  on    key click percent:  0    LED mask:  00000000
auto repeat delay:  660    repeat rate:  25
auto repeating keys:  00ffffffdffffbbf
fadfffefffedffff
9fffffffffffffff
fff7ffffffffffff
bell percent:  0    bell pitch:  400    bell duration:  100

That’s it! If you put this in your ~/.bashrc or whatever you use for a startup, this will mute the hardware beeping sound, but leave normal soundsystem stuff working.

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