Frequently Asked Questions
(and Answers)

If you have a question about xmcd/cda or encounter a problem, please read through this FAQ. You questions may already be answered in here. You may use your web browser's "Find" feature to perform keyword searches. Also, look at the README, RELNOTES, PLATFORM and CDDB files in your xmcd distribution for further documentation. If you don't find what you're looking for, send e-mail to the author. Suggestions to add new entries to this list are also welcome.

Why do I have to type in the disc and track titles? Isn't the information recorded on the CD?

No. There is no way to get such information by reading the CD. Recently there is a new CD-TEXT technology which does provide some information, but few CDs have it (As of this writing, most CD-TEXT enabled discs are from the Sony label), and only fairly new CD drives have the ability to read the CD-TEXT information. Fortunately, Xmcd and cda supports CDDB, which is an Internet CD information database. The disc and track titles, plus much much more are automatically downloaded from the CDDB server and displayed when you load a CD (if you enable CDDB access). In the rare occasion that CDDB does not have information about your CD, you type it in and Submit it to CDDB for all to share. In addition, starting with xmcd 3.2.0, CD-TEXT is also supported.

When I compile the xmcd source code, I get an error about XmClientLibs.

Your system's imake configuration is not set up to properly support Motif. To work around this problem, see the INSTALL file and read the comments in the xmcd_d/Imakefile and util_d/Imakefile.

I get the following warning when I start xmcd:

    Warning: locale not supported by C library, locale unchanged
This message is displayed when you do not have a properly defined LANG environment variable. If you are not using an international character set then you can usually ignore this message.

I get the following message when I start xmcd:
    Error: attempt to add non-widget child "dsm" to parent "xmcd"
    which supports only widgets
On certain platforms, there appears to be a problem with the vendor shell widget class in the shared Motif library. Rearranging the order of the Motif and X libraries linked may alleviate this problem, and re-linking with the static Motif library instead of the shared version usually solves this problem.

When I start xmcd, I get error messages such as these:

    Warning: translation table syntax error: Unknown keysym name: osfActivate
    Warning: ... found while parsing 'osfActivate: BulletinBoardReturn()'
    Warning: translation table syntax error: Unknown keysym name: osfCancel
    Warning: ... found while parsing 'osfCancel: BulletinBoardCancel()'
The LIBDIR/XKeysymDB file is not installed on your system (where LIBDIR is typically /usr/lib/X11). A XKeysymDB file is supplied with the xmcd release. When the XKeysymDB is installed in the proper location this problem should go away.

Xmcd prints one of the following error messages:

    The LIBDIR/app-defaults/XMcd file cannot be located, or is the
    wrong version.  A correct version of this file must be present
    in the appropriate directory in order for xmcd to run.  Please
    check your xmcd installation.

    Neither the XMcd.libdir resource nor the XMCD_LIBDIR environment is
Your xmcd software may be improperly installed. If you compiled xmcd from the source code, be sure to use "make install" to install the software.

If you have xmcd 2.4 or earlier, make sure that the xmcd_d/ file is installed as LIBDIR/app-defaults/XMcd (where LIBDIR is typically /usr/lib/X11, but is platform-dependent). Check the contents of this file to make sure the XMcd.version parameter exists and matches the version of xmcd you're running. If the XMcd.version field is missing or wrong, do not edit the file to correct it. Install a correct version of the file instead.

If you have xmcd 2.5 or later, make sure you are starting xmcd via the appropriate startup script (BINDIR/xmcd) and that the XFILESEARCHPATH and XMCD_LIBDIR environment variables in it are correctly defined.

If the above doesn't resolve the problem, check to make sure you don't have an old or incorrect version of the XMcd file installed in your home directory, your $HOME/.xmcdcfg directory, or in any of the directories specified by your XAPPLRESDIR, XFILESEARCHPATH and XUSERFILESEARCHPATH environment variables. Also, check your $HOME/.Xdefaults file.

Xmcd dies with a message similar to the following upon startup: xmcd: fatal: can't open file: errno=2

    dynamic linker : xmcd : error opening
Your xmcd binary was compiled to link with dynamic libraries. On SVR4 and certain other systems, a setuid program such as xmcd will search only the /usr/lib and /usr/ccs/lib for dynamic libraries (for security concerns). However, some of the dynamic libraries that xmcd needs are not in these standard locations. This is notably true for the Motif (libXm), Xt Intrinsics (libXt) and X11 (libX11) libraries.

In the example messages above, is not found. You may also run into the same problem with other libraries.

A solution is to create symbolic links such that these needed dynamic libraries are linked to /usr/lib, and thus can be found by xmcd. The xmcd install procedure ("make install" or "") has built-in support to search for the needed dynamic libraries and to create the links for you.

The script will only search the following directories for dynamic libraries:

If your xmcd binary needs a shared library that's not in these locations, you must create the symbolic link by hand with the ln(1) -s command.

If you don't like the symbolic link approach, an alternate solution is to recompile xmcd such that the dynamic library locations are specified to the ld(1) command. For example, for GNU ld, this would be the -rpath command line option; with Solaris ld, it's the -R option. To do this, you must be adept at editing the xmcd_d/Makefile and making the appropriate changes, compile the xmcd sources, and re-installing the binary.

Cda prints the following error message:

    XMCD_LIBDIR environment not defined.
If you have xmcd 2.4 or earlier, you must set the XMCD_LIBDIR environment variable to run cda. Typically this is set to "/usr/lib/X11/xmcd" (your local set-up may vary). You set the environment variable as follows:

Bourne Shell, Korn Shell or bash:
	XMCD_LIBDIR=/usr/lib/X11/xmcd; export XMCD_LIBDIR
C Shell or tcsh:
	setenv XMCD_LIBDIR /usr/lib/X11/xmcd
If you have xmcd 2.5 or later and still encounter this problem, then either you are not starting cda via the appropriate startup script, or your cda startup script is not correctly configured. Edit your startup script (BINDIR/cda) and correct the XMCD_LIBDIR line.

Xmcd prints messages similar to the following (and some or all of the xmcd features are not displayed in their proper colors):

    Warning: Cannot allocate colormap entry for "Grey75"
    Warning: Cannot allocate colormap entry for "CadetBlue4"
Your X display has run out of colormap entries. Colormap entries are a limited resource, and there are other color-intensive applications running on your X display that has consumed all of of them. This is especially prevalent on X displays that has 8 bit-planes or less (supporting 256 colors or less).

The solution is to start xmcd before running other color-intensive applications, such as web browsers or graphics programs. With xmcd version 2.5 or later, you may also start xmcd with the -instcmap option (or set the installColormap X resource to True) to make xmcd run with its own private colormap. Note that on some displays, this would cause other windows to appear in the wrong colors when xmcd has the input focus.

Xmcd seems to consume more and more memory over time, or experience other functional or display anomalies.

If you are using xmcd with an early version of the LessTif library (A free Motif clone), this may be the cause of the problems. Switch to a newer version of LessTif, or use the pre-compiled xmcd binaries that are distributed via the xmcd web site,

Xmcd or cda complains that the CD is busy.

Check the system for another xmcd or cda process running on the same CD-ROM device. If there are no other xmcd/cda process, then look for a file /tmp/.cdaudio/lock.XXXX where XXXX is the hexadecimal string of the device number. Remove this file and the problem should go away. Normally a new xmcd/cda process will inherit the lock from a previously exited xmcd/cda process, but if the original process ID is now re-used by another process this will not work.

Xmcd or cda complains that the device is not a CD-ROM and quits.

Ensure that the CD drive is connected and functioning, and that xmcd/cda is properly configured.

If you have one of those unusual OEM SCSI CD drives that identify themselves as a hard disk (such as the Toshiba CD-ROM XM revision 1971 units OEM'ed by SGI), you will need to add -DOEM_CDROM to the libdi_d/Makefile and recompile.

Xmcd and cda re-loads the CD tray a few seconds after ejecting.

This tends to occur with some non-SCSI CD drives. If you have xmcd's closeOnEject parameter set to True, that could be the cause. Try setting it to False. If this still doesn't fix the problem, or cause other problems, send a bug report to the CD-ROM driver's author.

Meanwhile, you can increase the insertPollInterval parameter in xmcd/cda to make this "auto-load" behavior happen later.

If xmcd/cda is started without a CD in the drive, the Load/Eject control on xmcd/cda cannot be used to load a CD.

This is a "feature". Xmcd and cda cannot issue a "load" command to the drive without having the device open. On many UNIX systems, the CD device cannot be opened until a disc is inserted. Thus, the CD must be loaded manually at the drive the first time around. Subsequently, the Load/Eject control on xmcd/cda should work normally.

If I eject and load a different CD, the xmcd/cda track list still shows the information for the previous CD.

This is a problem with some versions of the sbpcd driver on Linux. The sbpcd driver caches the CD's TOC (table of contents) in the driver, but neglects to invalidate this cache when the CD is ejected. There is a workaround: Set the closeOnEject parameter to True in your XMCDLIB/config/DEVICE file and it should work.

On the BSDI BSD/OS 2.x system, I get the following message when I use some of the xmcd and cda controls:

	data write failed: Read only file system
You need to apply a patch to your disk driver. See the PLATFORM file for details.

Xmcd seems to be real slow to respond to mouse clicks.

Make sure your system has enough memory. X11 programs, especially Motif applications, consume a lot of memory. Xmcd is no exception. Your system may be swapping and paging heavily, causing the performance degradation. Try closing some unneeded windows. Also, the X server may have a memory leak which causes it to grow over time. Try stopping the entire X session and starting a new one.

Run some system performance analysis tools (sar, u386mon, vmstat, rtpm, crash, etc.) to see if there is a system tuning issue.

Also, setting the xmcd X resource XMcd*mainShowFocus to False may improve performance somewhat.

Clicking the mouse button #3 on the volume control, balance control and track warp slider thumbs will not bring up the help window.

Click on the label area instead of the thumb. This is a limitation of the Motif scale widget.

When clicking mouse button #3 on the volume control numeric label area, sometimes the help window does not appear.

The problem occurs when the current keyboard input focus is on the volume control slider. This is a limitation of the Motif scale widget. The work-around is to click another button first to change the keyboard focus to another button, then click the #3 button on the volume control numeric label to bring up the help window.

Xmcd/cda seems to be playing the CD, but there is no sound.

Make sure you are not running a "demo" version of xmcd. If you see this message when you start xmcd or cda, then you are running the demo version that does not actually work with a real CD drive:

    CD-ROM simulator version x.xx (pid=xxxxx) starting...
You will get the demo mode if you compile and run xmcd/cda on an unsupported OS platform.

Also, make sure your CD drive audio output is connected to something. You may either connect headphones or amplified speakers to the front jack, or connect the rear audio output to an external amplifier. On PC platforms, the CD audio output is usually connected to a sound card.

For any system running the OSS (Open Sound System) sound driver, or Linux with either the OSS/Free or ALSA sound drivers, you should run an audio mixer utility to set the CD input and master volume levels appropriately. I recommend the xmmix (Motif Audio Mixer) utility, which supports the OSS, OSS/Free and ALSA sound drivers. Visit the xmmix web site for information:

For IBM AIX, you should run the Ultimedia Services "master_settings" audio tool (which incorporates an audio mixer utility) to enable the sound.

For Sun Solaris (Sparc and x86), you can start the "Audio Tool" and then set the Record Source to the CD.

For HP-UX, use the "Audio Control" tool and set the input source to the CD. HP-UX 10.x systems may need an OS patch from HP (Patch number PHSS_18777, always check with HP for the latest audio-related patches).

On systems that do not provide a way to connect an audio cable between the CD drive and the audio hardware, you can try connecting an external audio cable between the CD drive's headphone output jack and the workstation's "Line-in" port. Alternatively you can run xmcd/cda in the "CDDA playback" mode (xmcd 3.1 and later). Examples of these are Sun Blade systems and SGI O2 systems.

If none of the above works for you then you should use external amplified speakers connected directly to your CD drive's headphone jack.

I have a Toshiba SCSI-2 CD drive and sometimes when I run xmcd/cda I get no sound, even though the CD appears to be playing normally. The xmcd/cda volume control slider does not have an effect.

Some Toshiba SCSI CD drives support two means of software- controlled volume settings. One of these is the SCSI-2 method, using the "mode select" command. The other is via a SCSI-1 Toshiba vendor-unique command, and only gives mute/un-mute functions. Xmcd/cda will use the appropriate method, depending on whether you configured it to operate the drive as a Toshiba SCSI-2 or SCSI-1 unit.

Even though you are using xmcd configured to SCSI-2 mode, the SCSI-1 mode muting may have somehow been activated, thus silencing the audio. To determine if this is the cause, do the following:

  1. Run the XMCDLIB/config/ script, and re-configure xmcd/cda to operate the drive as a SCSI-1 Toshiba unit (such as the XM-3201).

  2. Restart xmcd, play an audio CD, and move the volume control slider around. Note that it will only go to the 0 or 100 settings in this mode. Leave it in the 100 position, then quit xmcd.

  3. Configure xmcd/cda back to run as the appropriate SCSI-2 unit.

  4. Play a CD. Is there sound? Does the volume control slider work?

A possible cause of this phenomenon, is that some other application that accesses the CD drive was using the Toshiba SCSI-1 vendor unique command set to control the drive, and left the drive in the muted state when it exited. Xmcd, when configured to run the drive as a SCSI-2 unit, does not issue SCSI-1 vendor-unique commands to re-enable the sound.

To remedy this, you may choose to operate xmcd/cda only in the SCSI-1 mode (as an XM-3201), but you lose some of the features in xmcd/cda. The other option is to avoid using the other application that caused this in the first place. Or, send a complaint to the vendor/author of that application.

Xmcd/cda reports "no disc" even though there is a CD in the drive.

Your system must be set up properly to use a CD drive. A good test is to see if you can mount ISO9660/High Sierra CD-ROM file-systems. If your system does not support ISO9660 but otherwise supports a raw CD-ROM device, you can try typing this command while logged in as the super-user (with a DATA CD loaded in the CD drive):

    dd if=DEVICE of=/dev/null bs=2k count=10
where DEVICE is the CD-ROM device node, such as /dev/rcd0 (SCO Open Server), /dev/rcdrom/cdrom1 (UnixWare) or /dev/rsr0 (SunOS 4.1.x). The device node should be a character special file (except on Linux). To check, use "ls -l" to display the device node, and it should have a 'c' as the first letter in the output. Here is an example:

    $ ls -lL /dev/rcdrom/cdrom1
    crw-rw-rw-    2 root     sys       21,  0 Aug 14  1997 /dev/rcdrom/cdrom1
For Linux, the CD-ROM device should be a block special file:

    $ ls -lL /dev/cdrom
    brw-rw-rw-   1 root     disk      22,   0 Aug 25  1996 /dev/cdrom
If the dd command fails, then either your hardware is not set up properly, or your OS is not configured to support the CD-ROM device. You should fix the problem first before attempting to run xmcd/cda.

Once you have validated basic functionality with data CDs, then make sure xmcd/cda is properly configured. Run the XMCDLIB/config/ script (where XMCDLIB is the directory where the xmcd/cda support files are installed).

Also, be sure that you are running on a supported operating system and hardware platform, and that the minimum OS version requirement is met. Some platforms require special kernel or driver configuration to run xmcd/cda. See the PLATFORM and INSTALL files for details.

Some of the features of xmcd/cda do not work, such as the volume control, balance control, channel routing, caddy eject, or index search buttons.

Your CD drive may not support some of these features. Another possibility is that the software is improperly configured. Run the XMCDLIB/config/ script to re-configure xmcd/cda. Also, see the at xmcd Configuration Guide for tips and hints on getting the most capability from your CD drive.

The xmcd shuffle mode button doesn't work, it just beeps when I click on it.

Shuffle mode can only be enabled when the CD is stopped. If your CD is playing, stop the playback and the shuffle button should work. This is a safeguard feature to prevent unintentionally interrupting the playback.

I am using a non-SCSI CD drive under Linux. The system seems to hang for a few seconds when I start or stop the CD via xmcd/cda, then everything works fine after that.

This is the characteristic of the particular CD-ROM device driver and can be considered "normal" (or send bug report to the driver author).

The "CDDA playback" mode sounds garbled or distorted, or has glitches and dropouts.

CDDA playback is a fairly CPU intensive operation, and there are separate threads in xmcd/cda extracting the digital audio stream from the CD drive and pumping that stream to your computer's sound hardware simultaneously. If your system CPU is not fast enough you will experience these problems. If your CD drive is connected to a non bus-mastering PIO (programmed I/O) controller, that would tax your CPU even more. To try to solve this problem, first determine that your sound card is properly configured and there are no resource conflicts, then read the relevant section in xmcd's RELNOTES file for hints. A system upgrade may be necessary (faster CPU, bus mastering controller, etc.) if your hardware is not adequate.

Also, many CD drives are prone to producing glitches in the sound due to "jitter" error. Enabling "jitter correction" in xmcd and cda may resolve the problem. However, if your CD drive cannot transfer CDDA at more than 2x rate, enabling jitter correction may make matters worse.

Some of the formats listed in the CDDA file format menu are "greyed-out" and not selectable.

If the greyed-out entry is either Ogg Vorbis or FLAC, this means that your copy of xmcd was compiled without the support for these formats enabled. See the INSTALL file for details.

If the greyed-out entry is MP3, then this means your system does not have the lame(1) encoder program installed, or it's located in a directory that is not in your PATH environment. Similarly, the AAC format requires the faac(1) encoder program in your PATH. Instead of having xmcd search your PATH for these programs, you can specify the path where these encoder programs reside by setting the environment variables LAME_PATH and FAAC_PATH, respectively. See the xmcd(1) and cda(1) man page for details.

If the MP4 format is greyed-out, then either faac(1) is not found, or the installed faac program was not compiled to support the MP4 format.

I would like to install xmcd such that the binary and its configuration files are all on NFS-shared directories. However, the workstations using the shared NFS resources have different brand/models of CD drives, so the default configuration does not work. How do I deal with this?

For xmcd 2.4 and later, use this simple procedure:

  1. Install xmcd and cda normally, except specify an NFS-mounted location for its BINDIR and XMCDLIB. Since root privilege may not be applicable across an NFS-mounted directory, you may need to run the installation as a non-root user. Care should be taken to ensure that these directories are writable by you. Also, be sure to fix the permissions of the xmcd and cda binaries to make them setuid root.

  2. Go to the XMCDLIB directory, you should find that there are host-specific symbolic links pointing to the common.cfg file and the device-specific configuration file (i.e., they have the -HOSTNAME extension in their names, where HOSTNAME is the system's host name; e.g., "common.cfg-snoopy"). Remove the symbolic links and replace them with copies of the real configuration files that they point to (Do not remove the original common.cfg file). Xmcd and cda will use the host-specific configuration files instead of the generic ones if found.

  3. You may repeat step 2 for every client system after running the XMCDLIB/config/ script to configure xmcd.

For xmcd 2.3 and earlier, this can be addressed with a wrapper script around the xmcd and cda binaries and adding a symbolic link to the device node.

  1. Install xmcd and cda normally, except specify an NFS-mounted location for its BINDIR and XMCDLIB. Since root privilege may not be applicable across an NFS-mounted directory, you may need to run the installation as a non-root user. Care should be taken to ensure that these directories are writable to you. Also, be sure to fix the permissions of the xmcd and cda binaries to make them setuid root.

  2. Rename your xmcd binary as xmcdprog and cda binary as cdaprog (substitute BINDIR with the appropriate path):

    	cd BINDIR
    	mv xmcd xmcdprog
    	mv cda cdaprog
  3. Create an xmcd wrapper shell script with the following contents and install with 755 execute permissions in BINDIR:

    	exec xmcdprog -dev /dev/rcdrom-`uname -n` $*
  4. Similarly, create a cda wrapper as above, but substitute "xmcdprog" with "cdaprog".

  5. Create a symbolic link in /dev to link to the appropriate CD-ROM device (substitute DEVICE with the correct device on your system. e.g., /dev/rsr0 on SunOS 4.1.x, and HOSTNAME should be the workstation's host name):

    	cd /dev
    	ln -s DEVICE rcdrom-HOSTNAME
  6. Run the XMCDLIB/config/ script for each workstation (where XMCDLIB is the directory where the xmcd/cda support files are installed). When prompted for the device name, enter "/dev/rcdrom-HOSTNAME" to configure the drive on that workstation host.

I would like to purchase a CD drive for use with xmcd/cda and for data CD purposes. Which do you recommend?

I will not give specific brand and model recommendations, but I will recommend a SCSI-2 drive over a non-SCSI one. More features are supported by xmcd on SCSI drives than on non-SCSI units.

Furthermore, SCSI CD drives are universally supported on the various OS and hardware platforms (whereas non-SCSI units only work on some platforms). This makes a SCSI drive more portable between different systems, and there is less worry about getting obscure device drivers to work.

Note that not all SCSI-2 drives are created equal, some of them implement more of the audio-related commands than others. If you do a careful study of xmcd's libdi_d/cfgtbl/* files, you'll get a good glimpse at the CD drives' capabilities. Some of xmcd's features will not work unless these commands are fully implemented on the drive. Also, see the DRIVES file for specific drive-related notes.

Note that some workstations require special OEM versions of the CD drives (such as Sun, which requires support of 512-byte block sizes rather than the standard 2048).

Does xmcd run on any flavor of Microsoft Windows or Apple MacOS?

No. Xmcd was developed to be an application for the X window system, which is found on most UNIX workstations as well as OpenVMS. Although there are products that turn your MS-Windows or MacOS desktop into a networked X display, there are currently no way of running an X application natively on these platforms. For MS-Windows users, you might want to look into one of the applications listed on the Gracenote web site ( ) Better yet, convert to Linux, FreeBSD or one of the other UNIX flavors!

What If I Don't Have Motif?

This is a common question for users of the FreeBSD, NetBSD, Linux and other platforms that do not come with Motif development and/or run-time environments. No problem, there are answers!

Pre-compiled xmcd binaries with statically-linked Motif library is distributed via the official xmcd web site for most of these platforms. You can just download it, install and run.

If you must build xmcd from source yourself and don't have Motif, you can use the LessTif (freely available Motif clone) package. LessTif is an ideal choice for xmcd, because it is under the GNU General Public license and embodies the same open source spirit as xmcd. Visit their web site at:
For best results, LessTif 0.92.0 or later is strongly recommended.

Alternatively, you may use OpenMotif, which is an open source release of Motif available for use on platforms that are themselves open source:

How do I turn on/off the automatic CDDB Music Browser feature?

See the autoMusicBrowser parameter in your XMCDLIB/config/common.cfg file. You may change it in that file (which affects all xmcd users on the system), or you may put that parameter in your $HOME/.xmcdcfg/common.cfg file.

On xmcd 3.2.0 and later, you may simply click the "Options" button on the main window (tools symbol), select the "CDDB & CD-Text" category in the pop-up window, then select the appropriate toggle button under "Music Browser". Click "Save" to save the setting.

Xmcd's wwwWarp feature works, but I prefer to have it invoke a different web browser than the one it's using.

See the WEB file in your xmcd documentation about defining the BROWSER_PATH environment variable to specify a browser to use.

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