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Primary goals of the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture:
1. Create a fully modularized sound driver which supports kerneld and kmod.
2. Create the ALSA Kernel API which surpasses the current OSS API.
3. Maintain compatibility with most OSS/Lite binaries.
4. Create the ALSA Library (C, C++), which simplifies ALSA application development.
5. Create the ALSA Manager, an interactive configuration program for the driver

taken from http://www.alsa-project.org