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Linux in a Nutshell

This directory of Linux commands is from Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition.

Click on any of the 687 commands below to get a description and list of available options. All links in the command summaries point to the online version of the book on Safari Bookshelf.

Buy it now, or read it online on Safari Bookshelf.


aplay [options] [file]

Play sound files using the ALSA sound system. The related arecord records sound files.



Print help message, then exit.


Print version and quit.


List available sound cards and digital audio devices.


List all PCM (pulse-coded modulation, or digital audio) devices that have been defined. PCMs may be defined in the .asoundrc file.


Select a PCM device by name.


Do not display messages.


Name the file type used. Files may be voc, wav, raw, or au.


Use n channels: 1 for mono, 2 for stereo.


Specify the sample format. The sample formats available will depend on hardware. For CD and DAT output, use the cd and dat shortcuts, which set the sample rate, format, and channel numbers all at once.


Set the sample rate in Hertz.


Set an interrupt for n seconds after playback begins.


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