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The CF-A44's sound chip is the MagicMedia 256AV. Unfortunately, the MagicMedia's sound capabilities are not accessible via the PCI bus, and is not auto-detected. Actually, I couldn't use the default Linux kernel's MagicMedia module at all using either ALSA (alternative Linux sound architecture), or the older OSS (open sound system).

The commercial Open Sound System (a variant of OSS, at does work. It managed to auto-detect the correct IRQ settings as well, or perhaps it was just lucky! To install (and compile) the Open Sound System, you will need the kernel source, make and GCC compiler packages installed first. I think the GCC compiler package is installed by default, anyway. Other than logging in as root and using the shell, the installation process is graphical and fairly automatic.

My Neomagic has the following configuration...

OPL3-SA Window Sound System Port (enabled) -- I/O port 530, IRQ 5, DMA (A)=0, DMA (B)=1 (well, that seems to work. The auto-detect does DMA-A=1 and DMA-B=0, which does not seem to work. These numbers can be seen in the BIOS, but are hard to interpret on account of the Japanese...)

OPL3-SA MIDI port -- DISABLED. I did this manually through the `soundconf' Manual configuration screen. I could not get the Open Sound driver to work if this port was enabled.

Yamaha OPL2/OPL3 FM synthesizer chip (enabled) -- I/O port 388

All the above numbers were auto-detected, other than disabling the MIDI port and changing the DMA.

I could not get the Open Sound System to work with SuSE kernel 2.6.5-7-108 despite...

  1. Updating both kernel-default and kernel-source. I also installed kernel-syms
  2. Execute `make cloneconfig' and `make prepare' within the `/usr/src/linux' directory
  3. Changing the /lib/modules/2.6.5-7.x/build to point to /usr/src/linux-2.6.5-7.x, as was once suggested on the Open Sound System web-site.
I then `reverted' the 2.6.5 kernel to the 2.6.4 kernel found on the SuSE 9.1 DVD. I then re-installed the open sound system. But this time the OSS did not work. After many frustrating re-installs, Open Sound System started again. Perhaps it was because I had changed the DMA values, or run SuSEconfig. Who knows.

I later was able to use SuSE kernel 2.6.5 with OpenSoundSystem 3991h. Apparantly SuSE has a non-standard location for the config file in its kernel packages, and the OpenSoundSystem people needed to modify their install scripts to compensate.

The CF-A44's speaker is mono, but the earphone jack is in stereo.

There Fn-F4/F5/F6 mute/volume changes buttons do not work in Linux. They do work in Windows. You may need to increase the volume to maximum in Windows to get decent sound volume in Linux.

next up previous Link to 'computer' page
Next: Applications Up: System software Previous: icewm, KDE
David Fong 2011-01-25