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Installing OSS4 on Ubuntu 8.04

August 11th, 2008

I have been provided with a new Lenovo ThinkCentre  M series machine  at my office. The machine has decent specs like Pentium dual core. 1GB RAM and 160GB  hdd.  It came preloaded with windows vista. As I use Linux , I partitioned the hard disk and installed  ubuntu8.04.  Unfortunately  sound is not working under Ubuntu.

I  looked at the  lspci output and found out   the following.

00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 02)
Subsystem: Lenovo Unknown device 100f
Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 18
Memory at d0120000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16K]
Capabilities: [50] Power Management version 2
Capabilities: [60] Message Signalled Interrupts: Mask- 64bit+ Queue=0/0 Enable-
Capabilities: [70] Express Unknown type IRQ 0

A quick Google search for the card revealed several people reporting problems with ALSA, There are several workarounds reported. I thought of  installing OSS4. Here is what I did. ( I think OSS is gpl compliant now, I am not sure)

a)  I installed the following packages.

$  sudo apt-get install  oss-linux

You can also download the latest package from here

b) I use gnome desktop and for gnome utilises ESD for its sound interface.. I installed the following packages.

$ sudo apt-get install esound esound-clients esound-common libesd0 libesd0-dev gstreamer0.10-esd

c) Next  you have to prevent the default Alsa  modules from loading up. This  can be done via a file named

/etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

Execute the following on command line.

$ sudo chmod 776 /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
$ sudo cat /lib/linux-sound-base/noALSA.modprobe.conf >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklis

Please take a look at /lib/linux-sound-base/noALSA.modprobe.conf. It contains the modules to be blacklisted for ALSA.

d) I added the following additional lines to /etc/modeprobe.d/blacklist

blacklist snd_hda_intel
blacklist snd_mixer_oss
blacklist snd_pcm
blacklist snd_timer
blacklist snd_page_alloc
blacklist snd_hwdep
blacklist snd
blacklist soundcore

Now reconfigure the linux sound base.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure linux-sound-base

You will be prompted to select the sound system. Select OSS.
Now reboot the system. The system will load OSS drivers instead of ALSA

You can verify this with)

# ossdetect -v
Detected Intel High Definition Audio (ICH8)
Detected Generic USB audio device (BETA

The OSS  drivers can be loaded and unloaded using the commands

#soundon
#soundoff

You can launch a mixer with

$ ossxmix

If you are on gnome you can create a launcher with ossxmix.

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