- The front, built-in speakers were always on
- The headphone jacks (there are two) were mute unless phones were inserted at boot-time
- Unplugging the headphones immediately caused them to stop working
This was really annoying, but then so are exams, so I neglected to fix it.
Today however, I grabbed the latest snapshot of the driver source from: http://www.alsa-project.org/snapshot/ and compiled it from source, installed it, rebooted. Now full functionality is restored, the headphones work fully and the front speakers can be controlled independently of the master volume.
Whilst this may not seem particularly impressive, this is the first time I've ever successfully compiled from source and installed any part of the linux kernel.
I hope the fixed ALSA driver gets included into the next kernel release very soon.