[PD] No ALSA or OSS sound with Debian 9.1 (32 and 64bit) on an "Up Board"

Ingo ingo at miamiwave.com
Sat Oct 7 11:50:00 CEST 2017

As I already mentioned I got ALSA and OSS back to work.
It was /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf that was missing.

> > I'm trying to run my rather complex Pd patch on an Up Board
> > (x5-Z8350 CPU,32GB eMMC, 4GB RAM).
> > The board has the RPi formfactor but is much more powerful.
> >
> > The up board comes with ubilinux (64bit debian version especially
> > for the Up Board).
> > After spending a lot of time with ubilinux and the normal debian9.1
> > (64bit) I couldn't stop it from constantly crashing when I opened my
> > patch - for some unknown reason.
> it would be interesting to know why that is happening.
> e.g. by producing a stacktrace via gdb.
> (from a dev perspective i find this a much more interesting problem to
> solve than "why is my ALSA not working")

That is definitely true!
Each object in all 20 external libraries was working fine by itself.
I opened all abstractions and all objects (except for the ones that I 
mentioned) were there and did what the should do.

Just when I opened the entire patch it would crash.

I'm not sure whether there is any compatibility issues with 64bit on a library 
or if there is a programming error that doesn't do any harm on a 32bit system 
but on a 64bit system.
Now I need to keep going with the 32bit system since I have been trying to get 
a small unit together for a long time (2 1/2 years).
The patch has thosends of abstractions and sub patches.

I'll probably go back to the 64bit system later to find out what exactly was 
causing it with a debugger.
For the moment I need to keep working on the functioning 32bit system. 64bit 
is not too important as long as Pd itself is running on 32bit anyway.

> > After giving up with the 64bit OS I installed debian 9.1 (32bit) and
> > it's running perfectly stable as before with my old amd hardware. No
> > more crashes!
> amd hardware? what happened to the up-board?

The AMD board is my current (old) board that I had been using for the last 
couple of years and will continue to use for systems that need more cpu power.
The Up board (with an Intel Atom) will be used for a smaller synth with less 

> > All externals (except for "iemlib/mp3play~"
> what's wrong with mp3play~?

It just doesn't build - neither on 64bit nor on 32bit. I'm getting only dotted 
lines ...
(Since this was my smallest problem I didn't investigate any further. It was 
the version on Deken with Pd 0.47.1) I might replace it with [readanysf~] ...

> > Then I compiled the kernel with oss but oss is not producing any
> > sound either.
> did you try jack?

No. I didn't think it would be worth it if ALSA or OSS wasn't working to begin 
My preferred audio system is OSS anyway. I'm getting less dropouts with a 
higher CPU load than with ALSA since it's lower level.
The last thing that I want on a realtime synth for wind controllers that send 
up to 600 MIDI CCs per second is a lot of crackling.
OSS is definitely doing a better job here than ALSA.

> *alsa-base*? Debian>=9 doesn't ship an alsa-base package any more. how
> did you install it? do you by chance mix some (incompatible) repositories?

Since kernel-package is not on Debian9 anymore and I needed to recompile the 
kernel with low latency, timer frequency 1000 and OSS I temporarily added the 
Jessie repository.
That way I succeeded in compiling the kernel to my needs.

Unfortunately I did not find instructions for compiling a kernel without 
Compiling worked perfectly like this. At least everything that I need is there 
now. If anything went wrong it doesn't affect anything that I need.

If the guys at Debian remove packages like "kernel-package" they should at 
least provide instructions for an alternative way to compile the kernel.
Maybe there is something but I couldn't find it in two full days.


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