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What are the different sound options in Linux?

Novell Cool Solutions: Question & Answer

Posted: 8 Jun 2005

I'm confused by ESD ARTS ALSA OSS.. I know they have to do with sound, but what are they and what should I use?

ESD, ARTS, ALSA, and OSS are all objects having to do with sound for Linux. Here's the breakdown:

  • ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) is by far the best and most versatile core sound driver available in Linux.
  • OSS (Open Sound System) is the original default kernel driver for Linux sound, and has been replaced by ALSA. ALSA has an OSS emulator which will allow old programs to use ALSA instead of OSS.
  • ARTS (KDE's sound server) is a sound server for KDE. It handles the sound coming from ALSA . I personally have had nothing but problems with it. I'd recommend getting rid of it and just using ALSA.
  • ESD (Enlightenment Sound Daemon) the same as ARTS, but written for Enlightenment and Gnome. I'd use ALSA instead.

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