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Re: sarge 2.6.8 kernel, ALSA ESS1869 No Sound

In message <3qlc5-17t-11@gated-at.bofh.it>, Colin Tuckley <colin@tuckley.org> writes
I'm running sarge and the 2.6.8-1-386 kernel.

My ancient laptop has an ESS 1869 ISA sound card built in.

The sound doesn't work and when I start KDE I get a message that says:

"Error while initialising sound driver device: default can't be opened for playback"

I've run alsaconf and get the following:

 ajp:/etc/modprobe.d# alsaconf
 Unloading sound driver modules...done.
 Probing legacy cards..   This may take a few minutes..
 Probing:  es18xx : FOUND!!

 grep: /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base: No such file or directory

 Running update-modules...
 Loading driver...
 FATAL: Error inserting snd_es18xx
 (/lib/modules/2.6.8-1-386/kernel/sound/isa/snd-es18xx.ko): No such device
 Setting default volumes...

I suspect this means the driver isn't built - any ideas where to get it from or how to build it? The only alsa-modules package I could find seems to be for a 2.4 kernel.

Alsa-modules are built into 2.6. I think it's the other way round: you have the module but it's not running properly since it can't find the sound chip.

There are issues with ESS. I have a Compaq EN with onboard ESS18xx and even Knoppix can't get sound out of it. Even though the chip can be identified it can't be configured. I had to enter the parameters by hand.

I got it working, and am listening to music from it at this moment. Unfortunately, like most infuriating and frustrating struggles, it didn't get documented. The last thing I want to do while trying to beat something into submission is write down all the things I've tried that didn't work, and memory is surprisingly unreliable, and I really hate sound problems more than anything else.... It's less than three weeks since I did it and already it's very hazy. Also unfortunately, at the end of such a battle I'm in no mood to find out exactly what did the trick, so I've probably got some unnecessary configurations still in place.

One I think is necessary: /etc/modules/alsa and/or /etc/modprobe.d/alsa, as I seemed to find conflicting information about whether 2.6 uses /modules or /modprobe.d. That's an area where I didn't go around deleting things afterwards to find what was actually necessary. Here's what's in it:

alias sound-slot-0 snd-card-0
alias snd-card-0 snd-es18xx
options snd-es18xx enable=1 isapnp=0 port=0x220 mpu_port=0x388 fm_port=0x330 irq=5 dma1=1 dma2=0 [all one line from 'options']

Hopefully your BIOS can show you the relevant numbers on your machine. There's a couple of useful web pages, but I think neither did the trick alone. One is http://www.df.lth.se/~triad/krad/linuxinstall.php and I'm afraid I can't quickly lay hands on the other.

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