Independent ALSA and linux audio support site


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Under Linux, a device is considered to be any object (physical or virtual) that is attached to a bus (also either physical or virtual). The Linux kernel accesses devices that are represented in the '/dev/' filesystem structure and their specification is usually a filename within that directory (for example a CD-ROM drive might be '/dev/hdc', a camera might be '/dev/video0', and a soundcard might be '/dev/dsp').

An ALSA device is more specifically a physical or virtual object for which ALSA provides device drivers to access and control its functionality. With ALSA providing the interface to the sound hardware, it is no longer necessary for users (and application programmers) to worry about the kernel devices as presented in the '/dev/' filesystem; ALSA presents the user with its own set of devices which are more standardized, flexible, and sophisticated than the kernel audio devices. ALSA devices are specified by a string following the format "interface:card,device" where:

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Category: Glossary