hi folks
I am just getting started with doing music from linux - I grew frustrated with my windows system and can't afford a MAC immediately. I would appreciate any recommendations of software which works well on linux for music applications.

My most immediate problem is trying to get RealPlayer to send output to the SPDIF output on my ChainTech A710 soundcard ( and hence to the axioms). I have got Gxine to do this but not RealPlayer. The motivation is to be able to stream some sort of subscription music. I suspect the problem is something to do with RealPlayer using OSS and not ALSA and maybe a future release of RealPlayer will fix it. Any ideas?

Apart from that, interested in general advice on software, sound cards which might work well in this setup. The sound when it was a windows machine was pretty good but I got tired of the bloated OS and all the problems I had with the performance of the machine deteriorating over time etc.