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Building the Kernel

This option builds sound support into the kernel, but does not use a specific sound server. We'll use the alsa-driver package from portage to complete the building of actual card drivers. This allows better control of updating your ALSA and ALSA driver versions.

Linux Kernel Configuration: Kernel Configuration
Loadable module support  --->
    [*] Enable loadable module support
Device Drivers  --->
    Character devices --->
        <*> Enhanced Real Time Clock Support
    Sound  --->
        <M> Sound card Support
            Advanced Linux Sound Architecture  --->
                < > Advanced Linux Sound Architecture
            Open Sound System  --->
                < > Open Sound System (DEPRECATED)

Compile and install your kernel, then reboot to continue.

Adjusting Portage

Because alsa-driver is no longer the recommended ALSA installation method, the files have been masked. To unmask them, add the following lines to your keywords file:

File: /etc/portage/package.keywords
media-sound/alsa-driver **
media-sound/alsa-headers **
media-libs/alsa-oss **
media-sound/alsa-utils **

If using ** in package.keywords does not unmask the packages, a portage upgrade > 2.1.2-r3 is required.

Installing alsa-driver

First, we'll need to tell alsa-driver which modules to build for your type of card. Edit /etc/make.conf and add a new option called ALSA_CARDS to it. Inside this variable you declare the soundcard driver you want to use (which you should have from the Identify Your Card section). These card driver names are NOT the same as the module names! Use the module name minus the prepending "snd-":

File: /etc/make.conf

Note that you can specify multiple cards on the ALSA_CARDS line separated by commas or spaces. To get a list of other ALSA_CARDS see

Now we'll compile ALSA and the drivers you selected:

#emerge alsa-lib alsa-driver alsa-oss alsa-utils

Now update your configuration files:



alsa-driver is now built. Continue your installation in ALSA/Install#Post-Installation Configuration.

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Last modified: Tue, 26 Aug 2008 23:32:00 +0000 Hits: 3,301