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On a fresh, minimal install of say, Debian (i.e. one without standard system utilities, nor a desktop environment installed), is there any way to alter the volume level or mute/unmute a device without installing anything (e.g. amixer or alsamixer)?

  • Define "minimal install". As the question is, it doesn't make a lot of sense - please explain why you want to know this. If you take away all utilities to directly access the ALSA API or hardware, then you don't have these utilities, yes. But with a shell alone you can probably bootstrap yourself into being able to write binary files, and then you can make your own utilities. – dirkt Apr 26 '17 at 15:50
  • In this case a "minimal install" is straight from the netinst.iso with all "software to install" unchecked during installation. The question itself is more a matter of curiosity rather than any specific need. By the sounds of things there isn't an "easy" way to adjust volume without these utilities, which is was all I wanted to know. – Jackson Edmonds Apr 26 '17 at 16:03
  • An excellent point, and highlights the somewhat poor wording of the question. I can't make sounds without installing something else (in my case I'd install something like mplayer, though I realise that violates my "without installing anything" clause, which I specified to remove suggestions like installing pulseaudio or some other amixer like tool). – Jackson Edmonds Apr 26 '17 at 17:05
  • @Fox If you have a file in the right raw format, cat >/dev/audio works for playing a sound. I don't think you can change the volume without an ioctl. – Gilles Apr 26 '17 at 22:46
  • @Fox I think modprobe snd-pcm-oss brings up /dev/audio on any Debian kernel (assuming you have audio hardware of course). – Gilles Apr 26 '17 at 22:59

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