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I'd like to use a beep sound in a shell script. Unfortunately none of the methods I found via Google work for me.

I tried

echo -e '\a'

echo -ne '\007'

and the command beep after I installed it via apt.

What could be the reason?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 32 down vote accepted

First run sudo modprobe pcspkr and then beep should work.

The reason this doesn't is because by default Ubuntu no longer loads the hardware driver that produce beeps.

If this works for you then to enable the loading of pcspkr permanently edit the /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf file (using gksudo gedit perhaps) and comment out line that says blacklist pcspkr so it looks like this:

# ugly and loud noise, getting on everyone's nerves; this should be done by a
# nice pulseaudio bing (Ubuntu: #77010)
# blacklist pcspkr
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yes, tried that and it works. how can i force ubuntu to load pcspkr at boot? –  NES Jan 3 '11 at 20:52
@NES Have updated my answer –  8128 Jan 3 '11 at 21:06
thanks a lot, works fine. –  NES Jan 3 '11 at 21:11
If I comment blacklist pcspkr I have to do modprobe -r pcspkr && modprobe pcspkr to get it to work. Also getting beep to work is not the same as getting the audible bell to work and thus askubuntu.com/questions/22168/how-do-i-enable-the-terminal-bell should still be open. –  daithib8 Jul 28 '11 at 11:37

Not being a fan of the pcspkr beep, I use a beep from one of the system sounds with the installed pulseaudio server's paplay command.

First find a sound you like (you can browse /usr/share/sounds for some available ones for example) and create a reference to it

export BEEP=/usr/share/sounds/KDE-Im-Message-In.ogg

Then have it available as a command

alias beep='paplay $BEEP'

Now just run beep whenever you need it. For example, to alert you when a command is finished:

find . | grep treasure ; beep
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Very cool! It works! –  Hengjie Feb 19 '13 at 3:22
Thanks, this was useful for me! –  h3nr1x Jun 12 '13 at 3:57
This wasn't the answer I expected, but I like it better. –  isaaclw Jun 20 '13 at 16:55
Can you get it to play this sound when someone runs echo -e '\a' –  Flimm Dec 2 '14 at 23:22
You might need some read command in a while loop or some other library that can monitore keystrokes. –  yuvilio Dec 11 '14 at 1:12

As far as I can tell, this is a bug: System beep broken in Karmic despite heroic efforts to fix it.

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If you have actual speakers connected to the computer and you're not getting a beep it's likely because you are using compiz. Compiz is relying on pulseaudio catching the beeps and playing them while metacity bypasses the usual setup and uses libcanberra to play a beep sound. If it works with metacity and not compiz that is your problem, otherwise the answer htorque gave is corrent.

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This answer is what worked for me.

I think it was specifically the bit to remove the pulseaudio-module-x11 package.

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