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1. Introduction

This is the Linux Sound HOWTO. It is intended as a quick reference covering everything you need to know to install and configure sound support under Linux. Frequently asked questions about sound under Linux are answered, and references are given to some other sources of information on a variety of topics related to computer generated sound and music.

The scope is limited to the aspects of sound cards pertaining to Linux. See the other documents listed in the References section for more general information on sound cards and computer sound and music generation.

1.1 Acknowledgments

Much of this information came from the documentation provided with the sound driver source code, by Hannu Savolainen ( Thanks go to Hannu, Alan Cox, and the many other people who developed the Linux kernel sound drivers and utilities.

Thanks to the SGML Tools package, this HOWTO is available in several formats, all generated from a common source file.

1.2 New versions of this document

New versions of this document will be periodically posted to the comp.os.linux.answers newsgroup. They will also be uploaded to various anonymous ftp sites that archive such information including

Hypertext versions of this and other Linux HOWTOs are available on many world-wide web sites, including Most Linux CD-ROM distributions include the HOWTOs, often under the /usr/doc directory, and you can also buy printed copies from several vendors. Sometimes the HOWTOs available from CD-ROM vendors, ftp sites, and printed format are out of date. If the date on this HOWTO is more than six months in the past, then a newer copy is probably available on the Internet.

Please note that, due to the dynamic nature of the Internet, all web and ftp links listed in this document are subject to change.

Translations of this document are available in several languages:







Most translations of this and other Linux HOWTOs can also be found at and If you make a translation of this document into another language, let me know and I'll include a reference to it here.

1.3 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.

I am also willing to answer general questions on sound cards under Linux, as best I can. Before doing so, please read all of the information in this HOWTO, and send me detailed information about the problem. Please do not ask me about using sound cards under operating systems other than Linux.

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 coordinator, Tim Bynum, for more information.

1.4 Distribution Policy

Copyright (c) 1995-1999 by Jeff Tranter. This document may be distributed under the terms set forth in the LDP license at

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