Etch from scratch – join the audio group and get sound

Debian just works. Sometimes though, the emphasis on ‘just’ is somewhat diminished as I expect this very comprehensive and ‘you can do anything’ operating system to meet my personal expectations. I know now that just as I cannot mind-read (not yet anyway), my computer does not know what it is required to do without me telling or informing it.

Computer sound or audio is not required, if not unwelcome in a workplace. This is the only reason I can think of why when I installed the Xfce version of Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 (Etch) , that sound is not automatically configured.

If you do not have sound on your computer and you want it, then the first things to check are:

  • speakers or headphones are connected and turned on
  • volume is turned up
  • your username belongs to the audio groupCheck by opening a terminal and type:
    groupsThis will list the groups that you belong to.
  • If ‘audio’ is not listed, then add yourself to this group. To do this, again in a terminal, become superuser to enter:
    addgroup username audio

If you still do not hear audio, I would be checking that my sound card is supported, and if there are any specific requirements for the player or game that I wish to play.

Note: To list all the available groups, in a terminal enter:
cat /etc/group


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