[linux-audio-user] Common linux audio layer

Brad Fuller brad at sonaural.com
Fri Jan 7 18:05:34 EST 2005

Hannu Savolainen wrote:

>>Perhaps programmers of current low-level audio apps will feel that they
>>may lose control by approaching this organization. Then again, it might
>>significantly elevate the need of audio in the linux community by
>>utilizing the x.org organization as the vehicle to promote and develop a
>>Unified Audio Driver.
>So the *x community should invent yet another audio driver API (in
>addition to OSS and ALSA-driver). Isn't the situation already messy
Maybe, but this was not my point. My point was that an organization with 
weight. such as x.org (doesn't have to be x.org) could support a common 
technology that all could support -- a technology solution to solve the 
issues that have been illustrated in this thread.  Maybe the 
organization would be something like the AES.

As far as what technology to support, that would be up to the body 
developing/recommending/supporting it. Maybe it's OSS, maybe it's ALSA, 
maybe it's a combination. Maybe it's new.

The potential problem with this approach is that it may end up being 
technology developed by committee. That rarely works very well (though, 
sometimes it does surprisingly well.) My druthers is to have a cool 
technology rise to the top by a couple of brillant people that gathers 
grassroot enthusiasm. But, sometimes that just doesn't happen unless you 
have someone, or something, giving it a poke in the ribs every once in a 
while. The "poke-in-the-ribs" is best if it's cash. In the FOSS case, 
it's for the love of the technology.

>At this moment all Unix vendors (other than official Linux) are already
>behind OSS. esd works on top of it. artsd works on top of it. Jack works
>on top of it. All applications (other than few alsa-* ones) are compatible
>with it. Even significant part of alsa-lib has been ported to work on top
>of OSS (this work started just about a month ago). So is there anything
>that is still missing from OSS?
>The current draft of the OSS 4.0 *) specification is available in
>http://www.fi.opensound.com/developer . If there is something important
>missing? We can consider adding such features in the near future. Comments
>are higly welcome.
>*) The OSS version included in the Linux kernel as well as ALSA's OSS
>emulation are based on OSS v3.8 which is almost 10 years old. For this
>reason they lack all the new features we have implemented during past
The obvious question is "why is ALSA, and the distros, not 
utilizing/including the latest version of OSS?"
* Is it political?
* Is it because they don't need to -- i.e. all audio apps use v3.8 and 
that's just fine, thank you very much.
* Is it because there is a technical issue with the latest OSS version?

Maybe the answers will uncover the issues.


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