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Sound doesn't work for me on woody, I need help and advice

I am working on getting sound working on my computer. I have never 
had sound working before, so lots of things might be wrong, most 
probably, I don't know what I'm doing, but other things, too.

So far I have determined that my sound card uses CM8738 chip and 
the driver for it is cmpci.o which is beging loaded. But...

During boot, a message flashes by that says that snd.o can't be
found, and hence is not loaded. 

snd.o seems to be part of alsa, according to a search of the data
base at debian.org. In that database however, the only hits are
for alsa packages that are supposed to work with kernel 2.4.xx and
I am running kernel 2.2.20 vanilla. 

I look in my /lib/modules and in dselect and see that some alsa
stuff is installed. I try to configure it, and get puzzling results.
In particular, my sound chip is not mentioned as a choise in the
pick list for chips/cards. CM8330 is there, which is a different 
chip at the C-Media web site. 

I look in dselect to see what alsa components might usefully be 
installed. I find no packages that mention 2.2.xx explicitly, but
many that mention 2.4.xx, and many different flavors of 2.4.xx, too.

So I wonder where did the alsa stuff that is on my machine come from?
Can it be made to work with my present kernel? Must I/ Should I migrate
to kernel 2.4.xx?

I have seen statements that one doesn't need alsa for simple beginner
grade sound, but the driver for my card seems only to be available 
with alsa, but it seems not to be supported by the alsa that I have.

Please give advice.
My goal is to get sound hardware/software installed and working so that
software, such as web browsers, that provide sound will be audible.

Paul E Condon           

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