Or little computing tricks and hacks
After lots of searching and fiddling finally succeeded in recording from the sound card. The problem with the solutions posted is that the sound infrastructure in the Linux set-up has changed radically and the software has to adapt. Linux also needs to rely on having open specifications from manufacturers of sound cards.
I wish I could give a full description of the drivers and software controlling sound but I cannot.
The solution here is for Ubuntu 13.04 and a hp Elitebook 8460p laptop.
The application recommended for recording directly from the sound card was audio-recorder which has changed names through the life cycle of ubuntu. First add the repository:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:osmoma/audio-recorder
Executing that command produced a long message, including information of extra dependencies and urls of bug fixes and known issues. Of special interest in my case was:
because that fixed the problem I was having and had not seen it mentioned anywhere else.
In short: in the pulse audio volume control or pavucontrol (if you don’t have it, install it. It is very useful), choose the tab Configuration, and make sure that the card’s profile is not Off and that the Built-in Audio is on Duplex. Again the names of the choices depends on the computer model and software versions.
After adding the repository:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install audio-recorder
You might have to adjust the recording choice in pavucontrol while recording to make sure you are capturing for the right line.
Useful links: These help sort out some of the nuances of choices, both in pavucontrol and in audio-recorder.
Hopes this helps somewhat... If I ever sort out the sound intricacies in Linux, I'll sure post the findings.