Etch from scratch – LAME

Who would have thought that in choosing “Export As MP3” from the File menu in Audacity would have instigated such a lot of learning.

In the last two hours I have learnt about another Debian repository to add to my sources.list, authenticating a public key, downloading and compiling a file from source, and some of the history of MP3s and related patents.

Installing Audacity was easy:

apt-get install audacity

I assumed that the creation of MP3s within Audacity was available as the item was available on the File menu, i.e. it was not greyed out or dim.

When I chose “Export As MP3”, I was prompted to provide a filename, then a message was displayed to say that I needed I was then prompted as to whether I wanted to go looking for it in /usr/lib.

I had a scrat around /usr/lib and /usr/local/lib and did not find I went back to the Audacity web site as I remember reading that LAME (Lame Ain’t an MP3 Encoder) would need to be downloaded and installed after Audacity. What I had read referred to the Windows version, but I thought perhaps I would have a go at installing a deb package perhaps called lame.

apt-get install lame

Did not find anything in my apt-get cache. Then I remembered Christian Marillat’s site

I added an appropriate repository from the web site to my sources.list file, then:

apt-get update

Then the fun began to figure out what to do with the following error:

W: GPG error: stable Release: The following signatures couldn’t be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 07DC563 D1F41B907
W: You may want to run apt-get update to correct these problems

So off I went back to the web site to find the public key. I didn’t scroll right to the bottom of the home page, or look at the FAQ. Remembering that it was Marillat’s site, I decided to ignore the displayed error.

apt-get install lame

The following error was displayed:

WARNING: The following packages cannot be authenticated!
Install these packages without verification [y/N]? N
E: Some packages could not be authenticated

Back to web site to find that the public key was at the bottom of the home page, and one of two FAQs 🙂

I downloaded the public key and then used

dpkg -i debian-multimedia-keyring_2007.02.14_all.deb

to install the public key.


apt-get update


apt-get install lame

This installed lots of documentation, none of which assisted me to locate what I needed. Unlike, the Windows version, where you simply downloaded a .dll file and showed Audacity where it was.

Googling showed me that I ‘needed’ to download a file from SourceForge and compile from source. Sigh.

Download latest source file from The LAME Project. In my case it was lame-3.97.tar.gz.

Unpack or uncompress using:

tar -xvzf lame-3.97.tar.gz

Navigate to the lame-3.97 directory.

Read the README and INSTALL files. Decide together with H, that most of the configure file consisted of the ‘standard’ configure file stuff. Ran:


I didn’t have the necessary build tools on my computer as I only installed Etch some weeks ago, and I still haven’t got round to installing what people consider ‘essentials’.

apt-get install build-essential

got the necessary tools, or should I say ‘essential’. Re-entered:




Become the root user, then entered:

make install

Checked that I had in the /usr/local/lib directory.

Ran Audacity and attempted to ‘Export As MP3’ again. It worked!

Now I just have to watch out for dependency hell, as LAME was not installed using the apt-get package manager.


5 thoughts on “Etch from scratch – LAME

  1. Alternatively, rather than compiling from source, you could just have installed the liblame0 debian package from the multimedia repository.

    The following packages are on the debian etch multimedia repo:
    – lame
    – liblame0
    – liblame-dev
    – lame-extras

    Should be enough to run Audacity. And doesn’t get you into dependency hell when you next dist-upgrade.

    In fact, if I were you, I’d carefully remove the stuff you compiled manually, and instead apt-get the package… that way it won’t break when you go to the next version of the distro (although with debian’s glacial release cycle, you’ll probably have a new computer before you do that!)


  2. @Daniel

    Thank you for your feedback. I have looked again through the steps I took to see where I decided to compile from source. I think it was because apt-get lame appeared to only provide documentation, and perhaps I missed any instructions there were about installing additional packages with apt-get as you have listed.

    I certainly will re-visit the issue from where I left off. But first, I’ll get the audio recording that I need to do out of the way. Also, I will need to find out how to as you said “carefully remove the stuff” I compiled and installed manually.

    To be honest, I’m not confident about a distro upgrade and have always worked from a fresh install, then apt-get what I need when I need it. Configuration and custom set up can be a bit tedious, for example, setting up email accounts and importing archived mail, but overall I feel that I am starting from scratch with a clean install and can figure out any issues as I install them.

    I may play with doing a distro upgrade on the previous system, once I’ve moved fully over to my new Debian Etch system.

    Debian’s release cycle is a lot faster than my purchasing new computer cycle. If I don’t count the Sun box which I have had in parallel with three x86 boxes, that is three systems in 17 years 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s