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1. Introduction

This is the ALSA Sound drivers mini-HOWTO. It gives you information about installing and using the ALSA sound drivers for your soundcard. The ALSA drivers are fully modularized sound drivers that support kerneld and kmod. They are compatible with, but surpass the possibilities of, the current OSS API. In other words: compatible, but better.

1.1 Acknowledgments

This documents contains information I got from the ALSA driver page. The structure was ripped off the SB-mini-HOWTO, mainly because it had about the structure I was looking for. Thanks to the SGML Tools package, this HOWTO is available in several formats, all generated from a common source file. Thanks to Erik Warmelink for proof reading, thanks to Alfred Munnikes for a couple of questions and helpful suggestions. Yamahata Isaku thanks for the Japanese translation, Miodrag Vallat for the translation in French. Later on, Steve Crowder did a great job by reading and editing the whole text. Thanks to Cserna Zsolt for the Hungarian translation and Marco Meloni for the Italian one. Thanks to Mohamed Ismail Mohamed-Ibrahim who sent me a document about the Trident 4DWave DX/NX soundcard with a lot of useful information, thanks to Gerard Haagh who sent me a lot of useful information and who also pointed out a few unclear sections.

Thanks to Marc-Aur`ele Darche, Piotr Ingling, Juergen Kahrs, Tim Pearce, Patrick Stoddard, Rutger de Graaf, Shuly Wintner, Jyrki Saarela, Jonas Lofwander, Kumar Sankaran and many others for useful tips and additions.

1.2 Revision History

Version 2.0-pre1 - November 12, 1999. Updating a couple of sections to ALSA 0.4.1e., added various links.

Version 1.7 - July 29, 1999. A few fixes.

Version 1.6 - July 26, 1999. Added a section about ALSA-versions

Version 1.5 - May 21, 1999. Changed the mixer section, added a quick install section

Version 1.4 - May 18, 1999. Included the URL to the French version, changed more URLs.

Version 1.3 - May 16, 1999. Thanks to Jaroslav this HOWTO has found a home at the ALSA-project website. As a result of that, some updates in mail and web addresses.

Version 1.2 - May 11, 1999. Several updates.

Version 1.1 - March 11, 1999. Added a couple of sound cards from the new 0.3 series drivers, wrote a bit about the 2.2 series kernel.

Version 1.0 - February 8, 1999. Added a few things to the troubleshooting section, but we seem fairly complete.

Version 0.3 beta - January 20, 1999. A link on the ALSA-homepage. Ha, we're official!

Version 0.2 alpha - Mid January 1999, first .sgml-version.

Version 0.1 alpha - January 1999, first version, mostly HTML.

Still: please submit any patches in plain English, you native speakers!

There are a couple of additions that need to be added to the HOWTO now. Notably, Mohamed Ismail Mohamed-Ibrahim and Gerard Haagh wrote wonderful additions to the HOWTO, that will keep me off my regular work for some more time. So this is 2.0-pre1 and more pre's are to follow.

1.3 New versions of this document

The latest version can be found at

Other formats (full size html, sgml, txt) are in the directory other-formats. Unfortunately, I have not succeeded in compiling a Postscript version, as the sgml2latex-script returns a bunch of errors.

Yamahata Isaku has translated a Japanese version, which will be available at the Japanese ALSA site,

Miodrag Vallat translated a French version, which is available at

Cserna Zsolt has translated the Hungarian version of the ALSA-HOWTO. You can find it at

Marco Meloni did an Italian version, you can get it at

If you make a translation of this document into another language, let me know and I'll include a reference to it here. Ook een Nederlandse versie is welkom, ik heb zelf geen tijd om deze te schrijven. Leve de koningin!

1.4 Feedback

I rely on you, the reader, to make this HOWTO useful. If you have any suggestions, corrections or comments, please send them to me (, and I will try to incorporate them in the next revision.

Please note: I do not get a lot of mail about the ALSA drivers and any addition is welcome. Even a ``thank you for'' is appreciated - maybe it's not too much work to add a ``I appreciated most'' or ``this-or-that was not immediately clear to me''-section.

If you publish this document on a CD-ROM or in hardcopy form, a complimentary copy would be appreciated. Mail me for my postal address. Also consider making a donation to the Linux Documentation Project to help support free documentation for Linux. Contact the Linux HOWTO co-ordinator, Tim Bynum, for more information.

1.5 Distribution Policy

Copyright 1998/1999 Valentijn Sessink

This HOWTO is free documentation; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This document is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but without any warranty; without even the implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You can obtain a copy of the GNU General Public License by writing to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

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