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Tips on working with Sound or Audio Devices on Debian Linux:

Want to enable sound on Woody? Have two sound cards to make things worse?

This is the most trickiest part and irritating job on linux. The Debian packages are completely broken and go by this manual method.

Alsa is one place where you can find drivers for most of the chipsets and you can first see if your audio chip has a driver available here. Then download the alsa-drivers, alsa-libs, alsa-utils and do a ./configure and make install them, the same sequence

You can put the below lines in your
/etc/modutils/alsa file. I have an Analog Devices 1885 and a SoundBlaster PCI 16 on my system. I would like to use the SB-PCI 16 by default.

alias char-major-116 snd
alias char-major-14 soundcore
alias snd-card-0 snd-card-ens1371
alias sound-slot-0 snd-card-0
alias sound-service-0-0 snd-mixer-oss
alias sound-service-0-1 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-0-3 snd-pcm-oss
alias sound-service-0-8 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-0-12 snd-pcm-oss
alias snd-card-1
alias sound-slot-1 snd-card-1
alias sound-service-1-0 snd-mixer-oss
alias sound-service-1-1 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-1-3 snd-pcm-oss
alias sound-service-1-8 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-1-12 snd-pcm-oss
options snd snd_major=116 snd_cards_limit=2 snd_device_mode=0660 snd_device_gid=29 snd_device_uid=0
options snd-card-ens1371 snd_index=0 snd_id=CARD_0


Do
/etc/init.d/alsasound start. If needed, do a modprobe of snd-mixer-oss, snd-pcm-oss, snd-seq-oss.

If you do a 'cat /proc/asound/sndstat', you should see something like,

Sound Driver:3.8.1a-980706 (ALSA v0.9.0beta10 emulation code)
Kernel: Linux debian 2.4.16 #24 SMP Fri Mar 1 23:48:20 CST 2002 i686
Config options: 0

Installed drivers:
Type 10: ALSA emulation

Card config:
Ensoniq AudioPCI ES1371 at 0xcf00, irq 11

Audio devices:
1: ES1371 DAC2/ADC (DUPLEX)

Synth devices: NOT ENABLED IN CONFIG

Midi devices:
1: ES1371

Timers:
7: system timer

Mixers:
1: mixer10


Congratulations, you are all done with the sound now. Just do a alsamixer and set the sound levels by using arrow keys and "M" for mute/unmute.


Sound works wells as 'root', but not as user

I don't know why don't these things be taken care of automatically by alsa, but you need to do this - if having a problem.


# chmod o=+rw /dev/mixer*
# chmod o=+rw /dev/dsp*

Or you can add the specific users (who need to play sound on the system) into the group 'audio' using 'usermod'

Why does my volume become 'muted' on every boot?

Append these lines to your /etc/rc.d/rc.local or /etc/init.d/alsasound

/usr/bin/amixer set Master 50 unmute >/dev/null 2>&1
/usr/bin/amixer set PCM 50 unmute >/dev/null 2>&1
/dev/null /usr/bin/amixer set CD 50 unmute >/dev/null 2>&1

Have a proper working sound configuration, but don't hear any gnome sounds?

Give suid permission to the 'esd' binary and start 'esound' as a daemon process. Check if you are present in the group 'audio' on your system. If you still don't hear any gnome sounds, start the 'esd' binary as 'esd &' and try out! After starting Gnome, if you don't see any output for "ps aux | grep esd", enter these lines in /etc/esound/esd.conf

[esd]
auto_spawn=1
spawn_options=-terminate -nobeeps -as 5
spawn_wait_ms=100

and the below lines in ~/.gnome/sound/system

[settings]
start_esd=true
event_sounds=true
[HOME] Last Updated: Apr' 2002
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