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The problem: This is a brand new machine. Debian installed pretty much without a hitch. I like the 4Front OSS drivers (ALSA has always given me problems in the past), so I coughed up another $20 and bought a license for this machine. The regular audio works perfectly for all file formats concerned. The MIDI refuses to work. All attempts to cat MIDI files to various devices either do nothing or hang (I have tried /dev/sequencer, /dev/music, /dev/midi, /dev/midi0, /dev/midi00, etc). All attempts to run playmidi with -D DEVICE on various devices have, predictably, given the "No MIDI loopback device found" error message.
Being new to this, I read Philip Kerr's Linux MIDI HowTo, which prompted the following investigations. Analysis of the lspci, lsmod, and cat/dev/sndstat shows that my MIDI driver is UART401 running on an Intel ICH5 AC'97 sound card and set to output to MIDI device 0. Copies of the lsmod, lspci, cat /dev/sndstat, and /etc/modules.conf can be found online at my site on the www-dot-seas-dot-upenn-dot-edu server (I can't type the URL out because I'm a new user; to get at these files, click on your address bar and enter the server name, slash-tilde gdonahue, slash specs).
Looking at those files, you're bound to see "midiloop" referenced. Ignore that; it is the 4Front MIDI loopback device, which I installed on a hope and a prayer. It does not work. Also note that at the top of /etc/modules.conf, we have "alias midi off." I have tried changing this value and commenting it out, but it doesn't work, and I really don't know what to change the alias to (should I try UART401?).
Has anyone had a similar experience with this sound card and/or these drivers?
Addendum: I didn't know whether to post this in hardware or not; sorry if this is the wrong forum for this kind of question, but I am new to Linux.