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2. NOWTO - a quick install guide

If you want sound and you want it NOW! and not after reading this HOWTO, this quick tour through the ALSA driver installation might be of help. Please note: there are a couple of differences between the ALSA versions that support 2.0 kernels and those that support 2.2 kernels.

2.1 Installing ALSA for kernels 2.2.x

You will probably want to use the ALSA 0.4.1e (or later) version if your kernel is 2.2.x. If your kernel is older, please use 0.3.0-pre4 and see below.

Just the all time ``./configure - make - make install'' stuff. Do this for drivers, library and utilities. You need all three because the utilities help you to unmute your card. Kernels 2.2.x need to have general sound support in the kernel (without choosing a specific card).

The ALSA drivers have their own devices, you can make them usinge the ./snddevices script.

You need to load the module for your card (or use kmod) and if you want sound to be backwards compatible with the Linux kernel sound drivers (yes you want this) you need two other modules called snd-pcm1-oss and snd-mixer-oss. See the section Which module for which card to find out which module to load. After loading, you can look in /proc/asound for various information about the ALSA drivers.

2.2 Playing and recording sound

A few remarks. ALSA has it's own devices in /dev/snd, for example /dev/snd/pcmC0D1 is Card 0, Device 1. You can use the old /dev/pcmXY devices if you loaded snd-pcm1-oss for backwards compatibility. You'll also want to use /dev/mixer, so load snd-mixer-oss as well. Before you can play any sound, you need to unmute the card with ``amixer''. Type ``amixer groups'', then try something like

amixer set PCM 100 unmute

Generally you can use options ``mute'' or ``unmute'', ``capture'' or ``nocapture'' and numbers.

That's it! Now if it works, it works. If it doesn't work, you may need to actually read this HOWTO...

2.3 Installing ALSA for 2.0.x

The ALSA drivers versions 0.3.0, 0.3.1 and 0.3.2 have various problems due to the restructuring of the mixer interface. Later versions do not support kernel 2.0.x, so you definately will want to use version 0.3.0-pre4 if you have a 2.0 version kernel.

Just the all time ``./configure - make - make install'' stuff. Do this for drivers, library and utilities. You need all three because the utilities help you to unmute your card. Kernels 2.0.x need to have all sound support disabled in the kernel setup

The ALSA drivers have their own devices, you can make them usinge the ./snddevices script.

You need to load the module for your card (or use kmod) and if you want sound to be backwards compatible with the Linux kernel sound drivers (yes you want this) you need another modules called snd-pcm1-oss. See the section Which module for which card to find out which module to load. After loading, you can look in /proc/asound for various information about the ALSA drivers.

2.4 Playing and recording sound

A few remarks. ALSA has it's own devices in /dev/snd, for example /dev/snd/pcmC0D1 is Card 0, Device 1. You can use the old /dev/pcmXY devices if you loaded snd-pcm1-oss for backwards compatibility. Before you can play any sound, you need to unmute the card with ``amixer''. Type ``amixer'', then try something like

amixer pcm 100 unmute

Generally you can use options ``mute'' or ``unmute'', ``rec'' or ``norec'', numbers or left:right.

That's it! Now if it works, it works. If it doesn't work, you may need to actually read this HOWTO...


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