I’m using Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat and I had been having a problem related to sound. Every time I started the computer, the volume was muted and I had to un-mute it as well as increase the volume. When I searched for a solution, it was brought to my attention that Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala and 10.04 Lucid Lynx also had this problem. I solved it by simply removing the buggy package alsa-utils which was responsible for this. Removing also-utils also removes ubuntu-desktop meta-package, but it does not matter since it is just a meta-package. To those who do not want to remove alsa-utils or ubuntu-desktop, some people in the Bug report have said that removing the line
mute_and_zero_levels "$TARGET_CARD" || EXITSTATUS=1
from /etc/init.d/alsa-utils (to open, use gksu gedit /etc/init.d/alsa-utils) fixed the problem.