Advanced Linux Sound Architecture

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The Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) is a set of sound drivers intended to replace the older Open Sound System drivers. ALSA drivers are included in the 2.6 version of the Linux kernel.

As well as kernel-level drivers, ALSA also consists of an user-space library to help with developing new programs and an API compatibility layer to the many programs using the older OSS drivers.

To see if your soundcard is supported look at the ALSA soundcard matrix.

Compiling and Configuring ALSA

Your sound system should work out of the box after installing Linux. However if you want to understand the concepts behind Linux Sound, it is useful to install it once:

  • Download and unpack the ALSA driver code.
  • Install the kernel-headers package from your distribution.
# ./configure && make && make install
# ./snddevices
# adduser username audio

(or add the user to the /etc/group file under the audio section.) If available, use the alsa utilities:

# cd utils
# ./alsaconf

Then, if necessary, try

# update modules

Otherwise merely load the proper module.

Note, if one will be using a lot of OSS/Lite compliant software, then one will need to load some additional modules. Overall, this is what's needed...

# modprobe snd-name of sound card
# modprobe snd-mixer-oss
# modprobe snd-pcm-oss
# modprobe snd-seq-oss

External links