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Making Linux Sing
The Drivers: OSS and ALSA
July 2, 2002
Linux is showing up a lot these days in the credits for animated movies and special effects generation. It's not just the big money movie industry that can benefit from Linux's multimedia capabilities. GNOME and KDE both come with basic sound utilities but let's dig deeper into the Linux multimedia software realm, and look at some of the ways that Linux can add a bit of a beat to your projects, whether personal or business.
Some of this software is free, and some is commercial (but won't break the bank).
First you need drivers. You already have drivers? So did I. But there are a couple of "bigger fish" type drivers that you might find useful if you want to check out some of the more interesting software: ALSA and OSS.
The Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (http://www.alsa-project.org/), also known as ALSA, is one such project. To get this driver set, go to the Web site, click on the Download link, and select a mirror site near you. Once you've uncompressed and unpacked the source, change to the new alsa directory and read the INSTALL file. There are many subtleties you may need to keep in mind and I'd hate to miss one here. The Web site also has a good selection of documentation, so be sure to take advantage of it.
The Open Sound System project (www.opensound.com), also known as OSS, is a commercial effort to build a collection of digital audio drives that work across the Unix platforms. There is a free demonstration version that you can download and install, and then the commercial version of the drivers is $20 USD. Not a bad price if you're having a heck of a time with the other drivers but this one works for you. Click the Applications link on the main Open Sound System page to get a list of the applications that work with these drivers, and Download to download and install the drivers.