i have found some new helpful information that helps with the gumstix alsa problem, but does not solve it. over at the alsa developers mailing list i found someone with a very similar problem but with a different board. i think it may closely parallel the problem with the gumstix:
all the output this guy posts is identical to the problems that i have and what others have posted on the list. it seems that adding these .conf files solves his problem. however, i tried creating an "alsa" directory to the /usr/share on my gumstix and then adding the entire directory of /usr/share/alsa from my ubuntu OS to it, but it did not help. does anyone know where these .conf should be added to make a proper installation of ALSA on the gumstix?
or perhaps another route: how can the alsa installation in the buildroot be changed so that these files are automatically (or by preference at least) included?
it seems that no one has gotten native alsa running on the gumstix yet because most prefer OSS emulation, but i would really love it if we could try and figure this out.