Getting Creative X-Fi to work in Ubuntu Hardy Heron (8)

I recently installed Ubuntu 8.04 LTS on my PC forgetting that I have an X-Fi sound card and that it wouldn’t work. I have used Ubuntu previously, 6 and 7.

But I thought that things may have changed, much like the ease of graphics card driver installation.

Previously I have ended up enabling on board sound and using that with ALSA within Linux, but not anymore.

I found a post on the Ubuntu Forums. Which explains how to install OSS in Ubuntu Hardy Heron which just happens to make the X-Fi work.


Go here:
Get the Linux 2.6 DEB package for your architecture (use x86 unless you have the amd64 Ubuntu) and save it to your home folder (i.e. the ~/ directory)

0. Get necessary packages

sudo apt-get install gcc gcc-4.2 gcc-4.2-base make build-essential binutils linux-headers-`uname -r` libssl-dev libssl0.9.8

1. Copy these directions to a text file so you can view them from a terminal, or print them out/write them down
2. Remove ALSA:

sudo apt-get -y remove alsa-base alsa-oss oss-compat

3. Reboot, but don’t log in
4. Change your session (clicking the icon in the lower left of the login screen) to failsafe terminal.
5. Now Log In
6. Navigate to where you have the deb file saved (e.g. if it’s your home dir, cd ~/ ). Note the name of the file will be oss-linux_v4.0-1015_amd64.deb if you downloaded that version

sudo dpkg -i oss-linux_v4.0-1015_i386.deb
sudo soundon

7. Just issue the exit command and when it goes back to the login screen, log in as normal.
8. OSS uses it’s own mixer GUI (ossxmix). You’ll need to right-click on and remove the Gnome mixer/volume control icon from the panel.
9. Add a new custom application launcher to the panel that runs the command: ossxmix - That’s ossxmix, not ossmix, Name the launcher whatever you want and pick an icon. I named mine “Mixer” and chose /usr/share/icons/gnome/32×32/status/stock_volume-med.png as my icon.
10. You’ll have to tell applications to use the OSS output plugin instead of ALSA. Some applications (like Audacious) have user-friendly controls for this. Others require command line input or configuring a text file. See:



I'm in the same boat with the Creative SB X-Fi. I'm new to Ubuntu, but did work in a Unix shop many, many years ago. So 'some' of this is coming back to me. However, having trouble with your step 0 - Get Necessary packages. Do I replace 'uname -r' in your shell command with my own username? I've tried several variations, but I keep getting errors similar to this: "Couldn't find package linux-headers-uname -r". I'm sure I must be doing something stupid. Any help / clarification on the correct syntax would be greatly appreciated!


Ok, I found my error. Used the wrong apostrophe character, "'" instead of "`". All good now. Thanks!


Hi, Gary again. Sound was working fine, but sometime over the last couple of days, it disappeared. I installed OpenOffice 3, and also played around with tvtime (to no avail - Hardy doesn't recognize my tuner card). So I'm not sure what killed the sound. But I figured I'd just re-install from the beginning according to your instructions. Step 0 - get necessary packages - ok. Step 1-2 - Remove ALSA - ok. Step 3-6, install using deb file - failed. Here is what the terminal session looked like:

$sudo dpkg -i oss-linux-4.0-1016_i386.deb
sh: Can't open /usr/lib/oss/scripts/
dpkg: warning – old pre-removal script returned error exit status 2
dpkg – trying script from the new package instead ...
sh: Can't open /usr/lib/oss/scripts/
dpkg: error processing oss-linux-4.0-1016_i386.deb (--install):
subprocess new pre-removal script returned error exit status 2
cd: 3: can't cd to /usr/lib/oss/build
sh: Can't open
cat: /usr/lib/oss/version.dat: No such file or directory
/usr/lib/oss/etc/devices.list: No such file or directory
Errors were encountered while processing:
$ sudo soundon
cat: usr/lib/oss/version.dat: No such file or directory
/usr/lib/oss/etc/devices.lst: No such file or directory
No /usr/lib/oss/etc/installed_drivers – cannot continue

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Try posting on Ubuntu forums, you will get better responses.

By the looks of it OSS wasn't uninstalled from last time.

Could try running:

dpkg --remove oss-linux-4.0-1016_i386.deb

Assuming that is the one you installed originally.

If that doesn't work you could try removing the original OSS using these instructions