Configuring the audio and updating ALSA for Ubuntu 8.04


Bill Giannikos


This guide will help update your version of the ALSA modules under Ubuntu 8.04. This is useful for people whose sound is not currently working with their current version of ALSA.


While this guide is mainly focused to laptop users, there isn't any difference for desktop users.


You should run a full update for your installation of Ubuntu to ensure you have all the latest packages installed.

Installing backported ALSA modules

Ubuntu include a set of recently released drivers in an easy to install package. You should try the following before trying to compile the ALSA modules yourself.

1. Load up a terminal window if you are in the graphic interface.

2. Type in the following:

sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules

3. Reboot

That's it for installing newer ALSA modules. If sound still doesn't work, continue reading the rest of this guide.

Installing the latest ALSA modules

Before installing the ALSA modules, you will need to decide whether to install the latest stable or development drivers. The stable drivers are more thoroughly tested; however the development drivers typically have more hardware support.

Here are the steps to install the ALSA modules:

1. Download the latest drivers from In this guide we are going to use alsa-driver-1.0.16 as at the time of writing these are the current stable drivers. You should download the development drivers instead of the stable ones if that is the way you would like to go. You only need to download the alsa-driver package, the other packages (alsa-lib, alsa-utils etc.) are not necessary.

2. Load up a terminal window if you are in the graphic interface.

3. Type in the following to install gcc and the kernel headers:

sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-`uname -r`

4. Move to the /usr/src/ folder with:

cd /usr/src

5. Extract the contents of the file you downloaded with:

sudo tar -xjvf /path/to/alsa-driver-1.0.16.tar.bz2

Remember to replace the “/path/to” in this command to the path of where your file is.

6. Move into the newly created folder with

cd alsa-driver-1.0.16

7. Run the configuration script with:

sudo ./configure

8. Now start the building process with:

sudo make

This will take a while.

9. And finally we install these drivers with:

sudo make install

10. Reboot your computer and the newer ALSA modules will be used.

Remember that you may need to adjust your volume settings.

Installing the CVS ALSA modules

The CVS drivers are right up to date with the latest developments. However these have barely been testing so should only be used if absolutely necessary.

The steps to installing these drivers are exactly the same as those for the development version (except for the file you need to download). You can download these drivers from Grab the latest version. Then just follow the instruction above by substituting the development version with the CVS version.


Rahul Biswas, 2009/03/26 04:02

Hi Bill,
It was amazing. Your tips worked just fantastic… Thanks

tarun, 2009/03/24 08:56

how to uninstall and re-install my sound driver
hda intel (alsa mixer)
i am new to linux.

     please help, my system sounds stop working exept login, logout. 
Francesco Palagi, 2008/10/27 09:22

Hi Bill, the guide you describe works perfect except for the installation in ubuntu. The Makefile that comes with the alsa-driver package installs the driver in the /lib/modules/'uname -r'/kernel/sound directory, while ubuntu has the alsa drivers in /lib/modules/'uname -r'/ubuntu/sound/alsa-driver/ directory. This means that you must either copy the newly compiled drivers in the second directory or rename the …/ubuntu/sound/alsa-driver directory as e symbolic link to the …/kernel/sound/directory.

I would like to know why ubuntu has chosen for the alsadriver a non standard istallation directory


My e-mail:

Bill Giannikos, 2008/11/28 10:13

I think it's the backports package that installs it there. I'll have to check this.

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configuring_the_audio_and_updating_alsa_for_ubuntu_8.04.txt · Last modified: 2009/02/12 04:30 by billg
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