Setting up sound

bscott at bscott at
Thu Nov 6 20:11:08 EST 2003

On Wed, 5 Nov 2003, at 8:48am, michael.odonnell at wrote:
> Can anybody recommend something that helps the newbie sort out ESD versus
> OSS versus ALSA versus "native" sound support versus whatever?

  OSS = Open Sound System (
  ALSA = Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (

  Those two are the options for kernel support for audio input, output,
mixing, and control devices.  They include the hardware-specific device
drivers, as well as userland interfaces (such as /dev/dsp, /dev/audio, and

  OSS has been around forever, and supports a variety of platforms (Solaris,
HP-UX, *BSD, others).  It is available in both an Open Source and a
commercial package.

  ALSA is "OSS: The Next Generation".  It is Linux-only.  It includes
backwards compatability interfaces for userland OSS programs.

  Which one is better tends to depend mostly on your hardware.  If ALSA and
your hardware work together, use ALSA.  The ALSA website has good
information on this.

  Everything else (ESD, ARTS, etc.) is userland stuff to help programs use
the kernel's audio features.  I advise deferring exploration of that stuff
until the kernel is working.

  You can test kernel functionality by doing something like this:

	sox testfile -t .ub /dev/audio

In the above, "testfile" can be .WAV, .AU, or whatever; SoX should
auto-detect it.  The "-t .ub" bit tells SoX the format to output; the ".ub"  
format seems to be what /dev/audio wants.

> Also, I have a more specific question: I have my system sound support
> limping along (badly misconfigured, no doubt) well enough that I can
> listen to Internet radio using the sound support provide by the integrated
> Intel i810 on the motherboard in the box I'm using.  Unfortunately, the
> sound is also coming out of the PeeCee's speaker and I can't figure out
> why, or how to stop it....  any clues?

  Does "aumix" offer anything helpful?

  Another possability: I have heard tell of a sound driver that attempts to
make the PC speaker function as an audio-output device.  Could that be the
driver that is loaded?

  What brand and model motherboard do you have?

Ben Scott <bscott at>
| The opinions expressed in this message are those of the author and do  |
| not represent the views or policy of any other person or organization. |
| All information is provided without warranty of any kind.              |

More information about the gnhlug-discuss mailing list