Re: Is it time for remove (crap) ALSA from kernel tree ?

From: Takashi Iwai
Date: Tue Jun 26 2007 - 05:35:43 EST

At Tue, 26 Jun 2007 00:18:05 +0300,
Hannu Savolainen wrote:
> Takashi Iwai kirjoitti:
> > At Sun, 24 Jun 2007 19:51:38 +0200 (CEST),
> > Tomasz Kłoczko wrote:
> >
> >> Few dayas ago OSS source code was oppened uder CDDL for Solaris and GLPv2
> >> for Linux:
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> So this source without problems code can be integragrated in Linus tree
> >> and after this Linux can provide much better soud supoport than
> >> with current ALSA.
> >>
> >> Any plans for doing this ?
> >>
> >
> > Did you count the number of devices that tree supports?
> > You'll loose the support of all new laptops and mobos sold in the last
> > year :)
> >
> They are all based on HD audio which is supported by OSS. Ok, our HDA
> driver driver still needs some work which was one of the reasons why we
> are moving to the community development model.

The HD-audio is still messy on ALSA, too.
There are a lot room to improve there.

> > Honestly, I'm not fully against changing the current code base (or
> > crap, whatever, any childish name). There are indeed many misdesigns.
> > But, replacing with the above is no option, IMO. The OSS have also
> > many misdesigns, so the same argument would start again. One should
> > learn something from history...
> >
> Exactly. Good to know that we are both thinking in the same way.
> > Anyway, if it's going to be more constructive, I'm willing to join in.
> >
> I think it's going to be constructive.
> We have no intention to push OSS back to the kernel or to replace ALSA.
> That alternative is not realistic any more. In addition OSS is a
> cross-platform product and staying more or less outside various kernel
> trees should provide better flexibility.
> What we would like to push is that the old "deprecated" OSS/Free are
> removed from the kernel. OSS/Free is based on about years old OSS API
> version which was too limited for many applications. Having OSS/Free in
> the kernel doesn't serve any purpose.
> Also we would like to stop the silly OSS vs ALSA war. OSS and ALSA are
> rather different. Both of them have some good points and bad points. For
> ordinary users it doesn't matter which API is used by the applications
> as long as they work. Just the application developers can see the real
> difference. Some of them prefer OSS while some other prefer ALSA and
> this should be their "freedom of choice".

Fully agreed, and I'm glad that we can go to constructive discussions

> I think the ideal solution would be that both ALSA and OSS APIs can
> co-exist by sharing the same low level drivers (which has already been
> demonstrated). The low level driver interfaces in both systems are
> practically identical. This means that ALSA's core can work with OSS'
> drivers and vice versa.

Yeah, that's in my mind, too.
The ALSA driver codes are fairly modularized and have separate core
and accessor codes. The latter, lowlevel driver code, could be
relatively easily adapted to different frameworks. This can be a

However, the question again is a "bigger picture" of the whole sound
system -- what to be included in the kernel side and what to be in
user-space. For example, a typical problem is software mixing. Also,
we can't forget the sample rate conversion since SRC may influence
much more on the sound quality than mixing. More discussions about
such a system design should be done at this time.


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