Configuring and Using Linux Audio

This section covers the configuration of sound cards under Linux and other issues related to Linux sound support.

Sound has historically been one of the most challenging aspects of Linux, and one that did not receive as much attention from Linux distributions as it should have, perhaps because Linux was initially embraced by so many as a server operating system. On the desktop, users have come to take multimedia support and sound for granted. Once you’re armed with a little knowledge, the good news is it’s not too hard to get a sound card up and running, and in fact Linux is well suited to audio and other multimedia applications for a number of reasons.

We start off this section with a quick overview of digital audio concepts and terminology. Those familiar with the technology may wish to skip over this section. If you don’t really care about how it all works or get lost in the first sentence of this section, don’t worry, you can get sound on your system without understanding the difference between an MP3 and a WAV file.

We’ll then look specifically at how sound is supported under Linux, what hardware is supported, the different device drivers available, and the different approaches to configuring sound taken by Linux distributions.

Next we’ll step through the process of configuring sound support, building or locating the necessary kernel drivers and testing and debugging the sound devices. We’ll provide some hints for troubleshooting and point ...

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