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Aka: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture

ALSA is the default sound architecture in Linux kernel 2.6. Kernel modules and libraries exist for Linux kernel 2.2 and 2.4. Since it has been included in Linux kernel 2.6, the old sound architecture OSS has been deprecated. ALSA is licensed under the GPL and LGPL. Old versions of OSS were distributed under the GPL while newer versions were proprietary and costs money.

ALSA, together with user-space servers like JACK ( and LADSPA (, has several benefits over OSS which are explained on their homepage ( Critics argue it is harder to install and use than OSS while others argue this has been eliminated since ALSA matured and since ALSA became the default sound architecture in Linux kernel 2.6.

ALSA also features an OSS emulation layer so that users can use their OSS applications’ support together with ALSA drivers.


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