Linux.com: Sound in GNU/Linux

“Getting sound to work properly in GNU/Linux can be a real pain
(not that it can’t be in Windows, too), and even if it works
perfectly from the start, the technologies that live between you
and the hardware are often confusing and mysterious. This article
will outline ALSA, OSS, Esound, and aRts and what they do; we’ll
also list some tips for identifying your sound card or onboard
sound chip and for getting sound to work in GNU/Linux.

“There are two distinct layers to the sound system in GNU/Linux:
the kernel driver, and the sound server. You need the driver for
the sound card to work with the operating system, but the sound
server is optional. While you don’t need it to play sound, you will
need it to play more than one sound at once, and some servers have
more features than just managing sound requests…”