Tagged: tutorial

Getting Sound (ALSA) Working on Gentoo

I don't think this is limited to only Gentoo setup, but the sound isn't working after the installation. These are the steps I took to get my sound cards recognized by ALSA and got it working.

I use ALSA instead of PulseAudio with no particular reasonings. Some say ALSA is better or vice-versa, but I'm using it since I'm just used to.

I had a suspicion that the sound might not work after the installation. I ran alsamixer to test if my suspicion was right. Well, there was no alsamixer, so I installed media-sound/alsa-utils.# emerge --ask media-sound/alsa-utils

When alsamixer was executed, it returned the following error message as I suspected.$ alsamixer cannot open mixer: No such file or directory

The system recognizes its hardware and the driver seems to be installed but ALSA didn't see them.# lspci -k | grep -iA2 audio 00:14.2 Audio device: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] SBx00 Azalia (Intel HDA) Subsystem: Hewlett-Packard Company SBx00 Azalia (Intel HDA) Kernel driver in use: snd_hda_intel -- 01:00.1 Audio device: NVIDIA Corporation GF106 High Definition Audio Controller (rev a1) Subsystem: eVga.com. Corp. GeForce GTS 450 Kernel driver in use: snd_hda_intel

But, ALSA didn't seem to recognize those sound cards.# cat /proc/asound/cards --- no soundcards ---

I google'd around and found that the HD-audio component consists of two parts, the driver (which I seem to have installed) and codec from the Linux Kernel site as well as some Gentoo forum posts.# dmsg | grep -i codec [ 1.626139] snd_hda_intel 0000:01:00.1: no codecs found!

Yup, I don't have codecs installed. I google'd again and found that conexant for my audio device. So, I searched that codec name in the kernel config file.# grep -i conexant /usr/src/linux/.config CONFIG_SND_HDA_CODEC_CONEXANT=n

I enabled the kernel options following by ALSA in Gentto Wiki, including SND_HDA_CODEC_CONEXANT, and rebuilt the kernel.# cd /usr/src/linux # make menuconfig # make && make modules_install # make install # shudown -r now

After the reboot, kernel version should be incremented/updated.# uname -v #3 SMP Thu Feb 13 14:46:50 EST

Codecs are now installed.# dmesg | grep -i codec [ 1.254990] snd_hda_codec_realtek hdaudioC0D0: ALC888: SKU not ready 0x411111f0 [ 1.255697] snd_hda_codec_realtek hdaudioC0D0: autoconfig for ALC888: line_outs=4 (0x14/0x15/0x16/0x17/0x0) type:line [ 1.255879] snd_hda_codec_realtek hdaudioC0D0: speaker_outs=0 (0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0) [ 1.256057] snd_hda_codec_realtek hdaudioC0D0: hp_outs=1 (0x1b/0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0) [ 1.256231] snd_hda_codec_realtek hdaudioC0D0: mono: mono_out=0x0 [ 1.256361] snd_hda_codec_realtek hdaudioC0D0: dig-out=0x11/0x1e [ 1.256491] snd_hda_codec_realtek hdaudioC0D0: inputs: [ 1.256623] snd_hda_codec_realtek hdaudioC0D0: Front Mic=0x19 [ 1.256768] snd_hda_codec_realtek hdaudioC0D0: Rear Mic=0x18 [ 1.256863] snd_hda_codec_realtek hdaudioC0D0: Line=0x1c [ 1.514180] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D0: autoconfig for Generic: line_outs=0 (0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0) type:line [ 1.514376] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D0: speaker_outs=0 (0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0) [ 1.514544] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D0: hp_outs=0 (0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0) [ 1.514727] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D0: mono: mono_out=0x0 [ 1.514829] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D0: dig-out=0x5/0x0 [ 1.514967] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D0: inputs: [ 1.561175] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D1: autoconfig for Generic: line_outs=0 (0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0) type:line [ 1.561370] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D1: speaker_outs=0 (0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0) [ 1.561554] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D1: hp_outs=0 (0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0) [ 1.561738] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D1: mono: mono_out=0x0 [ 1.561833] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D1: dig-out=0x5/0x0 [ 1.561962] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D1: inputs: [ 1.600184] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D2: autoconfig for Generic: line_outs=0 (0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0) type:line [ 1.600378] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D2: speaker_outs=0 (0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0) [ 1.600563] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D2: hp_outs=0 (0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0) [ 1.600745] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D2: mono: mono_out=0x0 [ 1.600882] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D2: dig-out=0x5/0x0 [ 1.601018] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D2: inputs: [ 1.638124] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D3: autoconfig for Generic: line_outs=0 (0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0) type:line [ 1.638271] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D3: speaker_outs=0 (0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0) [ 1.638411] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D3: hp_outs=0 (0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0/0x0) [ 1.638551] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D3: mono: mono_out=0x0 [ 1.638690] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D3: dig-out=0x5/0x0 [ 1.638822] snd_hda_codec_generic hdaudioC1D3: inputs:

/proc/asound/cards which showed "--- no soundcards ---" now shows found sound cards.# cat /proc/asound/cards 0 [SB ]: HDA-Intel - HDA ATI SB HDA ATI SB at 0xfbff4000 irq 16 1 [NVidia ]: HDA-Intel - HDA NVidia HDA NVidia at 0xfe97c000 irq 19

Yes, ALSA now sees the sound cards. I checked with alsamixer and it seems to be working fine. alsamixer

When I tested with aplay, I heard a noise from my speaker! I now confirmed that the sound is working on my Gentoo.# aplay < /dev/urandom

That's all!

Exploring with Gentoo Linux (Part 4)

Part 4 - Virtualization with VirtualBox

Virtualization is one of my must haves when it comes to setting up my main workstation. This is partly because I'd like to test software in guest OS environment before I put it on my main PC, and partly because I'd like to try out different Linux distributions. But the main reason is because I need Window$ OS to access to my company's network. I wish I could use WireGuard or something available for Linux but no...

In the past, many many years ago when VMWare still offered VMWare workstation for free, I used it but this is no longer available. Then, I started using VirtualBox. VirtualBox is one of well known virtualization products for x86 and AMD64 architectures from Oracle (I think it was owned by Sun Microsystems before). It is a free to use and of charges. It's available for Linux, Mac, Solaris, and Window$.

The information in this site is the result of my researches in the Internet and of my experiences. This information below is solely used for my purpose and may not be suitable for others.


During Gentoo Linux installation, kernel configuration options should have been enabled. For details, take a look at Gentoo Wiki on VirtualBox. # emerge --ask app-emulation/virtualbox

Window$ Guest:

To get the Guest Additions ISO image that contains all necessary Windows guest drivers, install app-emulation/virtualbox-additions. # emerge --ask app-emulation/virtualbox-additions

Gentoo Linux Guest:

As mentioned before,I always try to test software that I need to install on my main PC on the guest OS environment. For that reason, I have Gentoo Linux installed as a guest OS. There may be kernel configuration requied on the Gentoo guest OS. Refer to Gentoo Wiki on Gentoo guests for more details.

Now, guest additions need to be installed on the Gentoo guest OS.# emerge --ask app-emulation/virtualbox-guest-addition

To make it persistently start across reboots, set it as default, as well as the D-bus service.# rc-update add virtualbox-guest-additions default # rc-update add dbus default

User and Group:

A user who runs VirtualBox needs to be a member of vboxusers# gpasswd -a USER_NAME vboxusers

That's all!

Exploring with Gentoo Linux (Part 3)

Part 3 - Setting up i3 Window Manager

It's been a couple of years since I started using Tiling Window Manager. I first started with Awesome because it's said that this window manager was somewhat between floating and tiling window manager. It uses Lua to configure the system. It's not the easiest language to learn, but not the most difficult one, either. I liked it but I found a bit cumbersome to arrange windows the way I wanted. So, I migrated over to i3.

The information in this site is the result of my researches in the Internet and of my experiences. This information below is solely used for my purpose and may not be suitable for others.

I love i3 for its simplicity and text based configuration file. It's fast, powerful and supports multi-monitors well. I don't think I can go back to any other Window Managers anymore.


To use i3 Window Manager, X Window System needs to be installed. # emerge --ask x11-base/xorg-drivers # emerge --ask x11-base/xorg-server

When the installation is finished, some environment variables will need to re-initialized before continuing. Source the profile with this command:# env-update # source /etc/profile

NVIDIA Driver:

I have a rather old NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450. For some reasons, the latest drivers from the nvidia website always doesn't work even though it says its compatible with my graphic card. So, I use the one I know it works from before.# sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-390.116.run

i3 Window Manager:

The installation of i3wm is straight forward.# emerge --ask x11-wm/i3

After i3wm is successfully installed, we need a way to execute it and get into i3 window environment. To do this, ~/.xinitrc needs to be created. This is the file when startx and xinit are run and execute it. If this file is not present, startx run the default from /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.$ nvim ~/.xinitrc ========== exec i3

Then, we need to update ~/.xinitrc to load ~/.Xresources automatically each time startx is executed so the config is loaded into urxvt.$ nvim ~/.xinitrc ========== [[ -f ~/.Xresources ]] && xrdb -merge -I$HOME ~/.Xresources exec i3


Rofi is a window switcher, run dialog, ssh-launcher and dmenu replacement that I've been using since the day I switched to i3 Window Manager.# emerge x11-misc/rofi


Installation of i3pystatus is straightforward. To display icons, I'd need Font Awesome installed.# emerge --ask media-fonts/fontawesome

Then, install pip, Python's package management system.# emerge --ask dev-python/pip

Using pip, i3pystatus can be installed. The --user option is needed because I'm installing it as a regular user. This will install it user's $HOME directory ($HOME/.local/): $ pip install --user i3pystatus

As mentioned before, i3pystatus was installed under $HOME/.local/bin/, this needs to be added to $PATH.

Finally, install some modules to display volume, memory usage, disk usage, network status, etc.$ pip install --user colour \ netifaces \ psutil

That's all!

Exploring with Gentoo Linux (Part 2)

Part 2 - Configuring Other Applications


Git is distributed revision control and source code management software. I need to install git first because I have dotfiles and config files for the applications I need. # emerge --ask dev-vcs/git

After the installation, following config settings need to be done at least.$ git config --global user.name "my_username" $ git config --global user.email "my_email"

Then, download the dotfiles from Github.$ cd ~/ $ git clone https://github.com/ubyt3m3/dotfiles.git ... $ ls dotfiles


st is a simpke terminal for X. I use this terminal until I finish setting up urxvt. savedconfig USE flag lets you save a customized configuration file to /etc/portage/savedconfig/x11-terms/st.# echo "x11-terms/st savedconfig" > /etc/portage/package.use/st # emerge --ask x11-terms/st


Rxvt-unicode (urxvt) is THE terminal emulator that I must have in my work environment since OpenBox days. It's fast, lean, highly customizable and can display different fonts. I have another post regarding how I customize it.

Gentoo Linux allows you to choose what options to enable or disable using the USE flags. The options I wanted to enable were the followings:

  • 256-color: Enable 256 color support
  • unicode3: Use 21 instead of 16 bits to represent unicode characters
  • xft: Build with support for XFT font renderer (x11-libs/libXft)
  • gdk-pixbuf: Build with support for image loading and manipulation. Need this for image previewing in ranger

There are a few ways to do this in Gentoo. Since I wanted to do per package base, I set it in the /etc/portage/package.use/ directory:# echo "x11-terms/rxvt-unicode 256-color unicode3 xft gdk-pixbuf" > /etc/portage/package.use/rxvt-unicode # emerge --ask x11-terms/rxvt-unicode or set it during the installation:# USE="256-color unicode3 xft gdk-pixbuf" emerge --ask x11-terms/rxvt-unicode

Its config file is ~/.Xresources.


Neovim is a fork of Vim that promised to fix issues with Vim and provide a better out-of-the-box experience for Vim users. It also includs a built in terminal emulator.

Installation is simple.# emerge --ask app-editors/neovim

Its configuration file is in ~/.config/nvim/init.vim and I use vim-plug plug-in to handle installation of other plug-ins. Once my init.vim is copied to its config directory, run nvim. It should install defined plug-ins automatically. If it doesn't, go into the Normal/Command mode by hitting Esc. Then type :PlugInstall. This should trigger installation of plug-ins.


PCManFM is a GUI file manager. It's light weight and has features like displaying mounted drives and dual panes. I don't usually use it but it's good to have as a backup.# emerge --ask x11-misc/pcmanfm

Faenza Icons and gtk2 theme:

Faenza is an icon theme for Gnome. I've looked around and liked it the most. It can be installed from Portage. # emerge --ask x11-themes/faenza-icon-theme

Icons and GTK2 theme can be applied from lxappearance, but it needs to be installed first. # emerge --ask lxde-base/lxappearance

My customized Morning Glory needs to be extracted to ~/.themes/.$ tar -xzvf MorningGlory.tar.gz -C ~/.themes/

Once the icons and theme have been prep'ed, run lxappearance to apply them.

For the theme, click on the Widget tab. Morning Glory should be listed in the left pane.


For the icon theme, click on the Icon Theme tab, and choose Faenza from the list in the left pane.


Ranger is a text-based file manager. The best feature for me is the vi-style keybinding. # emerge --ask app-misc/ranger

The default directory is ~/.config/ranger/ and you can copy the default configuration files to this directory.$ ranger --copy-config=all

Copied files are the followings:

  • rc.conf - startup commands and key bindings
  • commands.py - commands which are launched with :
  • rifle.conf - applications used when a given type of file is launched.

For image preview, w3m needs to be installed.# emerge --ask www-client/w3m

Then, enable image preview in ranger's config file, ~/.config/ranger/rc.conf.$ nvim ~/.config/ranger/rc.conf ================================== ... set preview_image true ... set preview_images_method urxvt


Cmus is a small, fast and powerful console music player. # emerge --ask media-sound/cmus

TO DOs: set ups


Scrot is a command line screen capture utility.# emerge --ask media-gfx/scrot


Neofetch is a bash script that displays the system information such as installed OS, kernel version, CPU, memory, etc... next to an ASCII operating system logo.# emerge --ask app-misc/neofetch


Chromium is a free and open-source web browser from Google. It features a minimal user interface, powerful web development tools, and a built in task manager. There is a proprietary version of browser called Google Chrome

with more features than Chromium.# emerge --ask www-client/chromium

Be warned: Compiling Chromium can take a significant amount of CPU time and system memory, and it took nearly 7 hours to complete compiling.


I use following fonts for urxvt and i3.

  • Inconsolata
  • Kochi (for Japanese)
  • Font Awesome (for font icons)
  • Deja Vu
# emerge --ask media-fonts/inconsolata # emerge --ask media-fonts/kochi-substitute # emerge --ask media-fonts/fontawesome # emerge --ask media-fonts/dejavu

That's all!

Exploring with Gentoo Linux (Part 1)

Part 1 - Base System

In my previous post, I mentioned that my 10-year-old PC went haywire and upgraded some components to fix them. One of them was the main hard disk that had Slackware installed. I replaced it with a new SSD disk, hoping to get some speed in processing (my PC was so old that I'm not expecting much of speed boost). Since my primary drive needed a replacement, I had to install new OS on it. I was thinking of putting Slackware as usual but it got me thinking a bit. Its last release was 4 years ago. I love its simplicity and stable build but didn't feel like installing a 4-year-old OS.

Gentoo Linux

I've tried Debian, Arch, and Manjaro Linux before, but I always came back to Slackware before I knew it. While debating whether to put Slackware 14.2 again, I came across with Gentoo Linux. I knew the existance of Gentoo Linux and you'd need to compile every package, like Ports in FreeBSD. Well, I wanted to start a new so I decided to give it a try to see how I'd like it.

The information in this site is the result of my researches in the Internet and of my experiences. This information below is solely used for my purpose and may not be suitable for others.


I wanted the set up of my work environment be the same as what I had before (See Building My Work Environment (Part 1)), so most of applications that'll be installed will be the same. At any rate, the installation of Gentoo was a bit of trial and error, and it took quite a while to get it installed. I'll leave the steps to its Handbook, but its installation procedure is not a menu driven, like other distos. It involes a lot of typings. It reminded me of the Arch Linux installation.

Even Slackware installation is a console menu based, so that makes a big difference between these two distros. I would think the installation procedure for Gentoo or Arch is more flexible.

Partition/filesystem Schemes:

I have this 256GB SSD as a primary disk and 1TB SATA disk for /home. The SSD disk was brand new so I partitioned it as follows with parted;

/dev/sda12MiB-BIOS boot partition
/dev/sda2128MiBext2Boot partition
/dev/sda34295MiBSWAPSwap Partition
/dev/sda4239970MiBext4/ Partition

For the secondary disk, I converted its partition table to gpt and created one partition for /home.

/dev/sdb1953868MiBext4/home partition

This below is my /etc/fstab. I have /var/tmp and /var/tmp/portage as tmpfs. I took an advice from Portage TMPDIR on tmpfs in Gentoo wiki.

/dev/sda2/bootext2defaults,noatime0 2
/dev/sda3noneswapsw0 0
/dev/sda4/ext4noatime,errors=remount-ro0 1
/dev/sdb1/homeext4defaults1 2
tmpfs/tmptmpfsnoatime,nodev,nosuid,size=10G0 0
tmpfs/var/tmptmpfsrw,nosuid,noatime,nodev, size=10G,mode=17770 0
tmpfs/var/tmp/portage tmpfsrw,nosuid,noatime,nodev,size=10G, mode=775,uid=portage,gid=portage, x-mount.mkdir=7750 0

SSD Optimization:

Some of websites mention the use of discard mount option in fstab, but as SSD from Gentoo wiki and Solid State Drive from Archwiki stated, using the discard mount option is called continuous TRIM and it's not recommended. Instead, it suggests to run fstrim periodically. So, that's what I did using cron.# crontab -e =================================== # Global variables SHELL=/bin/bash PATH=/sbin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin MAILTO=root HOME=/ # For details see man 5 crontab # Example of job definition: # .---------------- minute (0 - 59) # |  .------------- hour (0 - 23) # |  |  .---------- day of month (1 - 31) # |  |  |  .------- month (1 - 12) OR jan,feb,mar,apr ... # |  |  |  |  .---- day of week (0 - 6) (Sunday=0 or 7) OR sun,mon,tue,wed,thu,fri,sat # |  |  |  |  | # * * * * * user-name command to be executed 15 04 * * 6 /sbin/fstrim /

XDG cache on tmpfs:

Many X Window System programs, such as Chromium, Firefox, etc..., make frequent disk I/O every few seconds to cache. To reduce strains to SSD, the default cache location can be changed to tmpfs. The default cache location is ~/.cache and this is HDD for my case but I sent it to tmpfs anyway.# nvim /etc/profile.d/xdg_cache_home.sh ============================================ if [ $USER ]; then export XDG_CACHE_HOME="/tmp/${USER}/.cache" fi


/etc/portage/make.conf is used to customize the Portage environment for the entire system (not per package or user). The settings defined in this file will be applied to all packages that are being installed (or emerged). So far, these are my custom settings: # cat /etc/portage/make.conf ================== CFLAGS="-march=native -O2 -pipe" ... # The number of parallel make jobs that can be used MAKEOPTS="-j7" # USE flags USE="-emacs -kde -gnome -bluetooth alsa" # Language codes for US English and Japanese L10N="en en-US ja"


If startx can't be found, it most likely X11 didn't get installed. # emerge --ask x11-base/xorg-server

System Logger:

During the installation, I chose to install system logger (app-admin/sysklogd) and this may display the following messages in console:

sysklogd: /dev/xconsole: No such file or directory

When the message starts to appear, updating its configuration file should solve it. # nvim /etc/syslog.conf ============ ... #daemon.*;mail.*;\ # news.err;\ # *.=debug;*.=info;\ # *.=notice;*.=warn |/dev/xconsole

ALSA Issues:

I have another post with more details about issues with ALSA sound, but to sum it up,I need to enable SND_HDA_CODEC_CONEXANT in the kernel options. The HD-audio component apparently consists of two parts, the driver and codec, and correct options need to be enabled.


eix is a set of utilities for searching and diffing local ebuild repositories using a binary cache. This is used to audit installed packages for maintenance. Use eix Gentoo wiki for how to set it up. # emerge --ask app-portage/eix

Things To Be Installed:

  • font-awesome
  • Kochi (Japanese)
  • Inconsolata

  • Faenza

File Manager:
  • pcmanfm
  • ranger

  • cmus - Console based music player

  • rxvt-unicode

Text Editor:
  • Neovim

  • lxappearance - Change GTK based themes
  • nitrogen - Set wallpapers
  • My customized Morning Glory theme

Version Control:
  • git

  • virtualbox

Web Browser:
  • chromium

Window Manager:
  • i3
  • i3pystatus - Replacement for i3status
  • rofi - Replacement for dmenu

  • scrot - Command line screen capture
  • neofetch - ASCII art to show logo and system info

That's all!