Creative X-Fi sound 11.2 x64 ?

I downloaded both Install DVD and live CD of SUSE 11.2 x64.
Hope to have enough time to install on a extra dive I have this weekend.
I have a Creative X-Fi Extreme Music card in my box, its useless with 11.1 so I use my mobo onboard sound.
I was under the impression that the new kernel supports X-fi cards but the Live 11.2 x64 does not detect the X-FI as far as I can tell.

My question is there a procedure to activate it? Can not find much with my searches any relevant links would be appreciated.

My understanding is it is the 1.0.21 version of alsa, with alsa kernel modules packaged with the new 2.6.31 kernel, that supports X-Fi, and not the new 2.6.31 kernel per se. Hence openSUSE-11.1 with the latest alsa should support X-Fi.

I believe it is supported on 1.0.21. However EAX and Advanced sound options like crystalizer not available yet. I think it has the emu20k1 chipset, and hence will use the corresponding kernel module.

Thus if one has openSUSE-11.1, and one updates to 1.0.21 of alsa, one may have limited XFi support. Guide for updating alsa on openSUSE: Alsa-update - openSUSE

Now openSUSE-11.2 also has 1.0.21 of alsa in the kernel, so in addition to 1.0.21 of alsa being provided with 11.2, in parallel the kernel should support Xfi. But I do not believe it is essential to have the 2.6.31 kernel, but rather its advantageous.

With the 11.2 live CD, you could try working your way through the openSUSE audio troubleshooting guide SDB:AudioTroubleshooting - openSUSE , being careful to pay attention to the speaker tests. Of course you can’t reboot, as you will lose any custom settings.

And pay very close attention to your mixer settings where typically kmix is the mixer in kde and alsamixer the mixer in gnome. In kde4 one can add extra mixer controls via a menu setting in kmix.

hmmm … did you try updating to 1.0.21 of alsa?


There are two “alsa’s” in Linux. The in-kernel one and the userspace one. If the in-kernel one does not have a module for a soundcard, forget about it on the userspace. As such, the kernel has to have a module for the card in question. Kernel 2.6.31 adds the X-Fi module and is officially available/supported now;a=commitdiff;h=8cc72361481f00253f1e468ade5795427386d593

Updating his alsa to v1.0.21 will not “fix” it since he’s still running an older kernel without an xfi module

Note I am not refering to only updating the rpm ‘alsa’ but instead also installing the rpm “alsa-driver-kmp-default” or “alsa-driver-kmp-pae” , dependant on one kernel he has installed. I’m not 100% certain, but I had thought the intention of using "alsa-driver-kmp … " was so to replace the kernel module. Hence when the kernel dynamically loads alsa, instead of loading the version of alsa that was packaged with the kernel, it will instead load the "alsa-driver-kmp … ".

But as noted , I’m not 100% certain.

Has any one with an Xfi tried this?

Yes, if they have split the audio drivers into kmp packages, then he may only need to install those but even so I don’t think anyone has backported the X-FI module to older kernels like 2.6.27.x which 11.1 uses and if this was the case, the people who in the past have asked for such a driver will not be asking for it if it was in the kmp packages. I’m not sure too and also never use audio kmp packages so don’t really know what they stuff in there

Reference 1.0.21 of alsa providing Xfi support, if one looks at the change between 1.0.20 and 1.0.21 of alsa, here is what is noted:
Changes v1.0.20 v1.0.21 - AlsaProject

Note its clear there that 1.0.21 is intended to support X-Fi. Now the 2.6.31 kernel will have 1.0.21 of alsa, and hence will support X-Fi.

But I have not read anywhere (which could simply be my omission in reading) that states the 2.6.31 kernel is essential. Rather I have read that the 2.6.31 kernel provides 1.0.21 of alsa, which in turn provides X-Fi. Its not uncommon for a new alsa version to provide support for a new sound device, without having to do a kernel update.

But I concede I may be wrong on this X-Fi view of mine. I would really prefer reading something direct from the developers on this.

Well, kernel 2.6.31 is the one that provides the x-fi module so if you somehow update your alsa through the PM to v1.0.21, I don’t think it will magically provide and insert the x-fi module for kernel 2.6.27.x which 11.1 uses. The alsa packages (not kmp) do not provide kernel modules. They provide userspace tools, firmware and libraries. I’ve no idea what’s in the kmp ones as I said, I don’t use them but judging from the name, it’s a kernel module package (kmp). Still, I’ve no idea if it provides an x-fi module for 2.6.27.x. It’s possible if someone has backported and this is unavoidable since the changes between 2.6.27.x and 2.6.31 are HUGE

Well, no magic planned here. Rather a DELIBERATE update of the kernel modules. But you could be correct. I simply do not know, and I think it is worth checking out in case its possible.

I note this debian page providing guidance for installing X-Fi.
X-Fi - Debian Wiki
… correct me if I am wrong, but they do not make any reference to the need to backport into any kernel. I definitely see no reference there to 2.6.31 kernel.

I was under the possibly mis-impression (but maybe I am correct) that the “alsa-driver-kmp-somekernelversion” were specifically intended to to replace the models that come with the kernel.

I think we have a misunderstanding (I suspect on my part). I was talking only about the alsa userspace tools, libs and firmware (the ones you can find in default install of SUSE and in OSS repo). You are correct that you can just pull the new alsa and compile the new modules for your kernel and this is what I suspect the kmp packages offer, though again I haven’t looked at them so can’t say precisely what they offer or even which drivers and if x-fi is among them. What i was talking about was about the alsa, alsa-tools; alsa-devel, alsa-plugins, alsa-firmware, alsa-utils, etc packages

X-Fi in 11.2RC works right out of the box.

For 11.0/11.1 you’ll need to compile the ALSA driver itself out of a snapshot made by the X-Fi developer and it’ll work fine.

That was also my understanding. …

… and I had thought the multimedia directories (for the kernel) provided that:

  • for various alsa apps
  • for appropriate alsa-driver-kmp-kernelversion (for kernel)

as documented here:
Alsa-update - openSUSE

there are even daily snapshots with updates as described here:
Alsa-update-snapshot - openSUSE

BoloMarkIII , did you try updating your alsa on your openSUSE-11.0 to alsa-1.0.21 as per my post directly above, to see if it gave sound to your Creative X-Fi ? I still believe it WILL give sound in openSUSE-11.0 with that update.

Thanks for all the responses, my X-fi does work with the 11.2 x64 live cd.

I simply did not spend enough time with it before my post.
I originally looked in YAST > hardware > sound and it only listed my onboard sound so I assumed it was not detected.

After opening KMixer applet in task bar it lists both Onboard and X-Fi sound. lol!

I still have a blank HDD and want to install but work is hammering me leaving no time to play with new and shiny stuff >:(

Great !!

From what I have seen, the openSUSE packagers for sound (and also the alsa developers) are keen to get feedback on this, so if there are some sound card functionalities of X-Fi do not work, you could write a bug report on it. They may or may not know about it already.

I can relate to having no time.

My recommendation is to wait until 11.2 GM has been released (mid-Nov) or even wait until Feb-2010 (after many of the newly discovered 11.2 bugs have been fixed) and install 11.2 then.

After such a long period of drought for X-Fi Linux support, its good to finally read of real user progress.

Yeah, I installed 11.2 RC1 just to have the x-fi working out of the box :slight_smile: I only need a new webcam since the drivers I used to use for my creative Live!cam notebook pro don’t seem to compile with 2.6.31 kernels and the gspca-ov519 driver doesn’t seem to want to work with it. :frowning: