Configuring the audio and updating ALSA for Ubuntu 8.10

Author(s)

Bill Giannikos

Introduction

This guide will help update your version of the ALSA modules under Ubuntu 8.10. This is useful for people whose sound is not currently working with their current version of ALSA.

Notes

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 Ubuntu to ensure you have all the latest packages installed.

Installing backported ALSA modules

Ubuntu include a set of recently released drivers in an easy to install package. You should try the following before trying to compile the ALSA modules yourself. Please note that at time of writing there are no new ALSA drivers in the backports packages, this section is here for future reference.

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

2. Type in the following:

sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-intrepid

3. Reboot

That's it for installing newer ALSA modules. If sound still doesn't work, continue reading the rest of this guide.

Installing the latest ALSA modules

Before installing the ALSA modules, you will need to decide whether to install the latest stable or development drivers. The stable drivers are more thoroughly tested; however the development drivers typically have more hardware support.

Here are the steps to install the ALSA modules:

1. Download the latest drivers from http://www.alsa-project.org. In this guide we are going to use alsa-driver-1.0.18a as at the time of writing these are the current stable drivers. You should download the development drivers instead of the stable ones if that is the way you would like to go. 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. Type in the following to install gcc and the kernel headers:

sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-`uname -r`

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

cd /usr/src

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

sudo tar -xjvf /path/to/alsa-driver-1.0.18a.tar.bz2

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

6. Move into the newly created folder with

cd alsa-driver-1.0.18a

7. Run the configuration script with:

sudo ./configure

8. Now start the building process with:

sudo make

This will take a while.

9. And finally we install these drivers with:

sudo make install

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

Remember that you may need to adjust your volume settings. Also, if a Ubuntu update installs a new kernel version you will need to go through this process again.

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.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/people/tiwai/snapshot/. Grab the latest version. Then just follow the instruction above by substituting the development version with the CVS version.

If this guide didn't work

If this guide did not work you may like to view the general Configuring the audio guide or use the Audio Tester.


Discussion

Omer, 2009/03/20 22:58

I installed Ubuntu 8.10 on Dell Latitude E5400. The volume was lower than Windows and for the headset up to around 80% there were no sound but after that I was hearing it increasing a little but it was worse than the speakers. I installed the latest ALSA drivers as above and I see that the volume increased a little but it is the same for the headset. One problem is that the volume control buttons above the keyboard are set to something else now and it is annoying. Is there any way to assign them to volume control again?

jack, 2009/01/23 19:19

Thanks! Installing backported ALSA modules worked for me. I started a revolution at work where I run Linux as my base OS and have a Windows VM for the apps I have to use that don't have Linux installs (I work in IT and have to deal with Remedy).

So I now have Pandora working again so I can keep my sanity!

pigcat, 2009/01/16 16:03

thanks man, this helped me a lot

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configuring_the_audio_and_updating_alsa_for_ubuntu_8.10.txt · Last modified: 2009/02/12 04:31 by billg
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