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I just installed Slackware 9.0, and to my delight managed to get my Audigy 2 soundcard to work (numerous attempts before had all ended in failure). I used the newest emu10k1 driver (which supports it fine), and I did the following steps, on a totally fresh system:
1) Tried to 'make' in the emu10k1 directory, which told me I needed the kernel source installed.
2) Found the 2.4.20 source the bare.i kernel I'm using is, and put it in /usr/src/linux-2.4.20
3) Ran make again in the emu10k1 directory, this time told I didn't have 'version.h' and should run 'make config' in the kernel source directory.
4) I duly did this, using make menuconfig, loading the bare.i config file from /boot/config
5) I ran make a third time in the emu10k1 directory, which now worked perfectly.
6) I proceeded to follow the installation instructions to the letter, which resulted in no errors (make, make install, add a line to /etc/modules.conf).
7) As I mentioned I have had many unsuccessful attempts at getting my sound to work on linux, and ran mpg123 without much hope, just in case. To my delight I heard the crystal clear guitar riff of Abandonned Pools, which I had only ever heard through Windows (bleh).
8) I then proceeded to show my mother and brother my wonderous achievement, who didn't share my excitement, but it didn't matter.
9) At this point I restarted the computer, without doing ANYTHING else.
10) To my horror, when I tried mpg123 again although it proclaimed it was playing music, nothing could be heard. I also noticed that the 'click' sound my speakers make when the computer is starting up, with Windows, and with Linux the previous time, was gone, as though it was never 'switched on'.
11) I checked the modules, and emu10k1, ac97_codec and soundcore were all there as they should have been.
12) I checked that all of the devices were present, they were, and the levels were all non-zero, they were all fine.
I have no idea why this happened, other than perhaps the make menuconfig in the kernel source directory somehow alterred the way my kernel loads the soundcard (I confess I'm not an expert on these things).
I also tried re-installing Slackware and doing the same process, and again the same thing happened.
I'm so close to getting my sound to finally work with Linux...
I had a similar prob once, so here's my pennies worth. The sound mixer resets volumes to 0...for reasons I don't remember. So...just open up the mixer and turn up the volume. make sure you save the settings and it should be ok from there onwards.
incidently, do the headphones work when this happens?
kernel version? I see 2.4.20 you may benifit from using the 2.6.5 kernel as alsa support is a lot better.
Is alsa in the kernel or built as a module?
Did you run alsaconf ; alsamixer ; alsactl store?
I don't think the emu10k1 module is an alsa one at all, but an OSS style driver. I could always be wrong...
I don't really want to update the kernel to 2.6 unless I have to, I just want a working, stable Linux system, and using a development kernel should not be necessary. Or so I would have thought.
2.6.6 is the most recent, stable version of the linux kernel. 2.5 was the dev version. The odd numbers state dev versions. even numbers are stable. You can use alsa w/ a 2.4 kernel. Just try the above commands:
su -l (give root password)
alsamixer (set volumes)
alsactl store (saves volumes)
Try that and post back soon