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I have installed Caldera Linus 2.4 on an intel 586 motherboard with a CD. The sound board works fine though the controls and the CD installs with OS fine. But you cannot use the CD from the Desktop or play a CD.
Do you know if your cdrom is primary master/primary slave etc? If you don't, enter your BIOS and see (first or second option in most BIOSes). In most systems, cdrom is secondary master (hdc). If that's true in your system, insert a data cd in your cd drive and run:
mkdir /mnt/cdrom <- to create /mnt/cdrom directory
mount -t iso9660 /dev/hdc /mnt/cdrom <- to mount cd
/etc/fstab is a normal text file. Look into it and see if there's your cdrom device mentioned (in my example: hdc). If not, you need to add an entry:
/dev/hdc /mnt/cdrom iso9660 defaults 0 0
(just a new line at the end of the file). Then
'mount /dev/hdc' should work (not only 'mount -t iso9660 /dev/hdc /mnt/cdrom').
Make sure that the volume on the sound mixer is turned up for the CD. This is a separate control from the CD player. I had exactly the same experience as you, the light on the CD drive would come on, the CD player display on the desktop would show which track was playing and how far along it was, but no sound. Turning up the volume on the sound mixer fixed everything.