ALSA packages version 0.5.X are now officially deprecated and no
longer supported by the ALSA developers. Gentoo now offers
packages to compile and install the latest version of ALSA packages
from the 0.9 tree. Namely, the following Ebuild scripts have been
updated to 0.9.0rc1, committed to the portage tree and unmasked:
Feel free to update your portage tree and install them. If you are
upgrading from the previous versions, please first have a look at the
upgrade instructions below.
Installing ALSA for the first time
If you want to install ALSA modules for the first time, make sure that
you have generic sound support compiled into your kernel
(CONFIG_SOUND=y), but don't compile in any other sound-related
drivers. Then merge the above packages, update /etc/modules.d/alsa
file, and you should be on your way.
Upgrading from any previous version
Note that ALSA's sound card kernel modules' names have changed! For
instance, what previously was 'snd-card-emu10k1' is now named
Also note that the alsa init script has changed. Make sure that you
get rid of any old alsa-related init scripts in /etc/init.d. To use
the new init script (/etc/init.d/alsasound) you *have* to edit
/etc/modules.d/alsa to specify the correct driver for your hardware.
After you edit it, make sure to run `update-modules' script. The new
strartup script takes care of loading the sound hardware modules and
restoring mixer settings at boot time.
Upgrading from previously masked 0.9.X packages
There had been some confusion with alsa package 0.9 version numbering
in the past. If you have any alsa packages with versions 0.9.0.1_rc10
installed, you need do the following, *before* installing the new
1. Unmerge your current alsa packages (this is very important, or
else portage will think that you have a newer version of ALSA
2. Make sure that your /usr/portage/profiles/package.mask file is
up-to-date and contains the following lines:
This should happen automatically when you update your portage
tree, unless you update /usr/portage with CVS (in which case
there *may* be a CVS conflict around those lines).
3. Only then follow the installation instructions below.
Upgrading from 0.5.X packages
If you have been using alsa 0.5.X series alsa drivers and libraries,
some applications may stop working for you. In any case, it might be
a good idea to recompile all applications with native ALSA support
after you install ALSA 0.9. Gentoo's package for 0.9.X drivers
installs a symlink libasound.so.1 -> libasound.so.2 in /usr/lib, which
should work in most cases; however, some applications may still break.
So, unless you are ready to spend some time debugging the possible
problems, it may be best for you not to upgrade to 0.9 right away, but
wait for a few days.
If you want to upgrade to 0.9, simply unmerge your previous alsa
packages, and then merge the new packages.
 See http://alsa-project.org/