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why use ALSA?

Apologies in advance for asking such a basic question:

I've been meaning to ask this question for months.  I have sound working on
my machines but without installing ALSA.  On my laptop (thanks to this
list) I have sound working by just selecting ymfpci in modconf.  xmms,
xine, ogle and what not all seem to work just fine.

So my question is why (or when) would I need to install ALSA?  Is there an
advantage of using it in my case when sound seems to be working fine?

Bill Moseley

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