Configuring Your Sound Card

Once you have determined that your model of sound card is supported, you can begin the process of making it available to Linux. Install the sound card, if necessary. This procedure usually involves nothing more complex than placing the card in an available slot on the motherboard. Because Linux uses its own device drivers, installing the DOS-based software has no effect on the card under Linux.

When you install the sound card, note the basic configuration information, such as the card's DMA, IRQ, and I/O address. Some cards have more configuration information, including 8-bit and 16-bit DMAs, MIDI addresses, and so on. Most sound cards use the default values without a problem, so you can check the card's documentation for these values. If you had to change some of the default settings to make the card work under DOS, have the changed values readily available for the Linux device configuration.

Later versions of Linux include sound card drivers for the most common cards as part of the basic driver package. In some cases, the setup or installation script includes a sound card configuration section. This script installs the proper drivers and relinks the kernel automatically. If your setup or install script handles the sound card setup for you, there is little else you need to do except reboot the system and test the sound card.

The sound card drivers are stored in different locations, depending on the Linux distribution. A good general location to look for drivers is the directory /usr/src/linux/drivers/sound, although the names tend to change somewhat. A quick method of finding the drivers is to search for the sound directory using the command find / -name sound -print

If your Linux software is supplied on CD-ROM, you will want to search the CD-ROM as well as the hard disk filesystem because few installation routines copy all the drivers to the hard drive. The Slackware distribution CD-ROM, for example, keeps the sound drivers on the CD-ROM until they are explicitly installed. The Slackware release keeps the drivers in the directory /cdrom/live/usr/src/linux-1.2.8/drivers/sound (the version number changes with each release of Slackware Linux).

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