Memory bug in SuSE Audacity 2.0.3-80.7.i586 package

I just registered. I have used Audacity in the past mainly for digitizing albums without much problem. I am however on another project, to digitize another 300 or so albums. I am running SuSE-12.3 and have their audacity-2.0.3-80.7.i586 installed. The recording process is complete and the only issue I had in that process, with audacity, was sometimes while recording, and stopped as opposed to paused, between album sides, the append record, (shift/record) did not work when I started the other side. My recording hardware was an OLD Pioneer Spec system, tape out to an RME ADI-2 AD/DA to an Asus Zonar digital input in the computer.

My real problems are now doing the editing and splitting of the album tracks. I quite frequently get audacity freezes. Actually, I have not been able to completely process a single album without a hangup of audacity somewhere in the process. It’s to the point that I’m not even using a “project” because I can’t trust it. I have my single WAV file containing a single album. Before I import it, I insure I have a backup of it. My current process is then, import, clean the font, middle, and end. Remove any DC offset. Then manually look for pops and clicks by magnifying/search/listen/remove. I then export that to another WAV file. Often, one of those steps will result in a hangup of audacity. Sometimes while manually searching for clicks, sometimes saving it back to another WAV. If I get through that without a hangup and don’t completely exit and restart before the next step, it will certainly hang in the next steps somewhere, every time. Those next steps are to simply re-import that new WAV, apply a little EQU, amplify, then export, again as another WAV file. Often, during one of those 3 things in that step, a hang will occur. By hang, I mean audacity has %100 of a CPU and never responds to me again. I have to “kill -9” it. I read of the “known issues” with this release and can’t help but think the problems I’m having may be related to one or more of those. I really just don’t know though. Obviously, I cannot process these 300+ albums like this. Since I am committed to completing this project, I would certainly would be willing to do most anything asked of me to help me or the audacity team resolve the issues I am seeing. I am somewhat Linux savy. I have downloaded and built it from source. I have not actually tried using the result yet. I maintain all my employers Linux kernel drivers and work on some other Linux projects. I am only a C guy though.

I do have some other issues but I’ll research more and worry about them once I have a hang free audacity. They are mainly in the TAGS/TAGS dialog box area.

Thanks in advance

By far the most common reason that I experience Audacity freezing is PulseAudio. I don’t think that this would explain 100% CPU usage, but it is certainly something to eliminate before looking deeper.

Assuming that you are using ALSA host: In the Device Toolbar, set the recording and playback devices explicitly to use your hardware device (hw:0,0) or whatever it is. This will bypass PulseAudio and use the hardware directly via ALSA. Of course it is then essential that no other applications are accessing the device or you will get “Error while opening sound device” or a related error.

It is set to spdif: Line:0. This is happening while the sound device (in or out) is not even being used.


Looking at the 2.0.3 release notes, the following are listed as possible “freeze” issues:

Files containing PCM audio but misnamed as MP3 cause a freeze or crash if an Extended Import rule is set in Preferences to force import of MP3 files using the MP3 importer.

(Linux) After opening a sufficiently long audio file, opening a second file of any size leads to locked GUI/console messages until first file completes play.

Audacity may freeze if using the Nero AAC encoder to export via (external program).

(Linux) In projects containing several hundred labels or more, Audacity will freeze on 100% CPU when opening the “Audacity Karaoke” window, and will freeze again while that window is open when editing a label or performing other actions on the project. Workaround: Open or place an empty label track above the one you want to use.

(Linux) If pulseaudio is used as the audio device, repeatedly starting and stopping playback or recording in quick succession (or holding down the Play or Record button) may lead to a freeze. Workaround: bypass pulseaudio by setting the playback and recording device to an ALSA/hw choice in Device Toolbar.

On Mac, Audacity may freeze if JACK is launched by QjackCtl then Audacity is launched. Workaround: Use JackPilot to launch JACK, or launch QJackCtrl after Audacity and JACK are running.

Importing WAV or AIFF files (possibly those created by Audacity) may cause a freeze or a crash. After this occurs, Audacity may become destabilized and crash again even without importing further files. It is believed to mostly affect Intel Mac machines and to be caused by memory corruption. Workaround: Reboot the computer.

Do any of those look like they fit?


Importing WAV or AIFF files (possibly those created by Audacity) may cause a freeze or a crash. After this occurs, Audacity may become destabilized and crash again even without importing further files. It is believed to mostly affect Intel Mac machines and to be caused by memory corruption. Workaround: Reboot the computer.

sort of fits. The first sentence matches? The rest, not so much. It has happened during an import, but never an import immediately after starting audacity. On the imports that hung, it had been up and some work had been previously done. Such as an export etc…

Oh, and I misspoke in my last reply. I cannot change it from ALSA as it gives me no other choice? But I am not playing anything during %99 of the hangs.

One other thing I did notice, not sure if you are familiar with xosview, but watching it is where I saw my CPU usage at %100 (confirmed with top). It also shows MUCH paging going on during operations over the whole album, like declicking, etc… Don’t know if that means anything or not but I never ever see this happening during normal usage of the computer. Only while using audacity?



How much free RAM do you have?
Are you working in just one Audacity project at a time (one window) and one album (less than an hour of audio)?
What sample rate do you use?

The machine is running 32 bit mode and has 4GB ram. I never see any swap used.


“Are you working in just one Audacity project at a time (one window) and one album (less than an hour of audio)?
What sample rate do you use?”

Yes, one album at a time. I am using 96000


It’s probably time to give your home-brew version a whirl.
If you find the problem persists, keep a note of exactly what you were doing at the time - if we can spot a pattern it may give a clue as to what is going on, but at the moment nothing stands out to account for it.

OK, I’ll do that in the morning. First though, I’ll go ahead and add another 4GB to the box. The kernel I’m running has HIGHMEM enabled so maybe??.


So does rebooting the computer make any difference?

If it does not prove to be bad memory behaviour on your machine when it’s asked to do some serious number-crunching, it may be useful at some stage to launch Audacity from the terminal (or better from within the gdb debugger) and see what messages (or gdb output) come up.

Have you added any plug-ins to your computer that show up in Audacity, irrespective if you are using them for your albums?


I added another 8GB of memory to the system and this morning I had no problems at all. No paging detected and no freezes. This indicates to me that there is certainly something amiss somewhere. Should not Audacity run perfectly fine with 4GB of memory on a 32bit OS? Obviously I cannot be sure that it is audacity that is causing this, but I have no issues like this with any other applications on this or any other of my boxes. I know from experience that these types of problems can reveal themselves in many different ways. If it were one of my projects, I would fix no other BUG until this was explained in full.


Hi Gale,

With the 4GB only, I did reboot once or twice but it seemed to make no more difference that just exiting and restarting audacity. I have added no additional plug-ins that I know of. I do keep up to date with the SuSE and Packman repositories when ever it says I need to. What actually happens there is sometimes hard to know. I would like to think that only installed packages are updated but it is possible a package update could cause the requirement of a new package???

I certainly can remove that extra memory I added if you would like me to do something in particular.


Yes on principle, but it should be stressed if you got that result using the 2.0.3 packaged version of Audacity that Audacity does not control that package or its dependencies.

For example, if you look in the Directories Preferences in the packaged version, is there an “Audio Cache” option? If SuSE decided to reinstate that despite our removing it and that option was enabled, it could explain the problem.

What happens if you edit a large video file with the native SuSE video editor with only 4 GB RAM?

That would be as (or more) demanding than your album edit.

First we have to reproduce the problem. Obviously it is not general that Audacity freezes up when working with a pair of 20-minute tracks.

By all means, experiment with the self-built Audacity with the original 4 GB RAM if you can.


OK this weekend I will go back to 4GB and try what you recommend and get back to ya.

When I build from src can I assume that no special options need to be given for ./configure? This is what SuSE does in their spec file:

%configure --docdir=%{_defaultdocdir}/audacity/
%ifnarch %ix86 x86_64

FWI: I monitored memory usage for each step in an example of processing an album. It’s attached and sort of interesting.

audacity-mem-usage.txt (14.3 KB)

I believe we have fixed the DOCDIR issue the first line above may be addressing.

The other line should be irrelevant as you are on a 32-bit machine, so I suggest just default ./configure.


With 4GB memory and running audacity built from the downloaded source everything was fine. No hangs and no paging. The SuSE distributed binary rpm seems to be the source of my problems. I downloaded SuSE’s source rpm from Packman and built an RPM from it, and again everything was fine. No hangs or paging. So building audaciity on my box from source, any source, seems to fix my problem.

Sorry for the noise, and thanks for your help.

Thanks for letting us know - I’m glad that you managed to resolve the issue.
It may be worth reporting the issue to SUSE (or the maintainer of that package, depending on what provision they have for bug reports). Hopefully they will be able to fix it for future releases.