Configuring the audio and updating ALSA for Fedora 8

Author(s)

Bill Giannikos

Introduction

This guide will help update your version of the ALSA modules under Fedora 8. This is useful for people whose sound is not currently working with their current version of ALSA. We will be covering the easiest method first which is installing the latest stable drivers and then later we will discuss updating to the development and CVS ALSA modules.

Notes

We will be using 'nano' as our text editor of choice but you can use whatever you wish.

While this guide is mainly focused to laptop users there isn't any difference for desktop users.

Prerequisites

You should run a full update for your installation of Fedora to ensure you have all the latest packages installed. Unlike most other Linux distribution, Fedora update their distribution to newer versions of the kernel as they are released. It is possible that by just updating your Fedora installation that sound will begin to work.

Installing the latest stable ALSA modules

For an easy install we will be using the ATrpms repository.

1. Load up a terminal window if you are in the graphic interface.

2. Switch to the root user by entering the command “su -” (without the quotes) and typing in your root password

3. Edit the file /etc/yum.conf. Using nano we type the command:

nano -w /etc/yum.conf

4. If you have already configured yum to use the ATrpms repository then append “*alsa*” to the end of the “includepkgs” line and skip the next 3 steps. Otherwise continue on.

5. Add the following to the bottom of this file:

[atrpms]
name=Fedora $releasever - $basearch - ATrpms
baseurl=http://dl.atrpms.net/f$releasever-$basearch/atrpms/stable
gpgkey=http://ATrpms.net/RPM-GPG-KEY.atrpms
gpgcheck=1
enabled=1
exclude=*kmdl*i586*
includepkgs=*alsa*

6. Save the file. In nano you press Ctrl-X, answer yes to the “Save modified buffer” question and then press enter on the file name to write.

7. If you have not previously setup ATrpms execute the following command:

rpm --import http://ATrpms.net/RPM-GPG-KEY.atrpms

8. Now execute the following command:

yum install alsa-driver

9. Reboot your system and you will be using the updated ALSA module.

Remember that you may need to adjust your volume settings.

Installing the latest development ALSA modules

If the stable ALSA modules aren't new enough to support your sound card then you may need to install the development drivers. It should be noted that these drivers have not been fully tested and so may cause some unexpected issues. You should only install these if the stable drivers do not work for you.

1. Download the latest development drivers from http://www.alsa-project.org. In this guide we are going to use alsa-driver-1.0.16rc2 as at the time of writing these are the current ones. You only need to download the alsa-driver package, the other packages (alsa-lib, alsa-utils etc.) are not necessary.

2. Load up a terminal window if you are in the graphic interface.

3. Switch to the root user by entering the command “su -” (without the quotes) and typing in your root password

4. Type in the following to install gcc and the kernel headers:

yum install gcc kernel-devel

5. Move to the /usr/src/ folder with:

cd /usr/src

6. Extract the contents of the file you downloaded with:

tar -xjvf /path/to/alsa-driver-1.0.16rc2.tar.bz2

Remember to replace the ”/path/to” in this command to the path of where your file is.

7. Move into the newly created folder with

cd alsa-driver-1.0.16rc2

8. Run the configuration script with:

./configure

9. Now start the building process with:

make

This will take a while.

10. And finally we install these drivers with:

make install

11. Reboot your computer and the newer ALSA modules will be used.

Remember that you may need to adjust your volume settings.

Installing the CVS ALSA modules

The CVS drivers are right up to date with the latest developments. However these have barely been testing so should only be used if absolutely necessary.

The steps to installing these drivers are exactly the same as those for the development version except for the file you need to download. You can download these drivers from http://ftp.suse.com/pub/projects/alsa/snapshot/driver/. Grab the latest version. Then just follow the instruction above by substituting the development version with the CVS version.


Discussion

caveat empor, 2008/09/10 03:59

However:

If you are running SELinux under any policy, you will have a ton of access errors not using the post install script from the official Fedora package. You can manually fix some of them with 'restorecon' but not all. That's to say that sound won't work, it will, sort of. Emulation will not, and any process trying to read alsa.conf (like, oh, everything) it will throw access errors unrelated to the policy errors, namely “The field ipc_gid must be a valid group (create group audio)” - this happens up even to 1.0.17 as of 09/08. Googling for a solution brought me here…

Nothing wrong with the process above, it's just not complete WRT Fedora 8 and total operability.

Also, if you're building on a x86_64 system and use 32-bit applications (99.5% of web browser plugins are not 64-bit friendly, which is why Firefox defaults to 32-bit, or you run Windows apps under Wine) don't forget to build a 32-bit version as well… (probably requires just alsa-lib, I am not certain, I built two complete sets.)

Bill Giannikos, 2008/09/10 04:09

The guide here is simply how to update the ALSA modules in the kernel, not how to update the alsa libraries.

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configuring_the_audio_and_updating_alsa_for_fedora_8.txt · Last modified: 2009/02/12 03:58 by billg
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