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Hardware > Sound

To listen to sound (Ogg, ?MP3, .au files, CDs etc.) on your sound card, you need to:

You can install too e.g. Sound/Audio apps or Applications using MAD, 'xfreecd' (music CD playing software), 'mp3blaster' (full-screen console mp3-player), or 'saytime' (if you have no CD drive and no ?MP3s). Try to run them as root (it should work). With Debian, ordinary users lack permission to read the CD drive and write to the audio device (usually /dev/dsp), and they probably can't use these programs (yet; see next paragraph).


Alsa / OSS

There are two main projects, that aim to provide sound drivers in Linux.


ALSA is the main current set of sound drivers in Linux. It provide some modules (snd-mixer-oss, snd-mixer-pcm, snd-mixer-seq) to emulate OSS with legacy application.


OSS was the original sound drivers.

To switch between ALSA and OSS, you should run:

(see /usr/share/doc/linux-sound-base/README.Debian)


Some useful commands:

The documentation is in /usr/share/doc/alsa-base (as usually!)

Unix Group

If you notice that a user starts up Gnome and receives a message about Audio not working the likely cause is that the user is not in group audio (only the initialy created user is in the audio group by default). You need to:

  # adduser john audio

Next time user john logs on they will be able to use the audio device.

See also:

See Also