[gst-devel] Linux audio is a mess? [was: JACK and GStreamer, from the horse's mouth]

Paul Davis paul at linuxaudiosystems.com
Fri Dec 1 15:30:48 CET 2006

On Fri, 2006-12-01 at 01:49 +0100, Ronald S. Bultje wrote:
> Hi Paul,
> On Thu, 30 Nov 2006, Paul Davis wrote:
> > > I really just want to play and edit audio,
> >
> > i'm sorry, but thats a silly answer. deeply silly. because your current
> > perception of your needs are limited, you propose that the system-wide
> > solution should be similarly limited? those people who want to route
> > audio from xmms/amarok/player-of-the-day through JackRack and then
> > icecase it are just on the wrong platform?
> But isn't that the end goal? Isn't the end goal to have a "Linux" (...)
> wheer every app can just play sound? 

what does "just play sound" mean? does it mean "can dump samples into a
buffer and dispatch the buffer with the hope that it will emerge from a
speaker, somewhere at sometime in the future"? if thats all it means, i
am entirely in agreement with you. 

but i think what you actually mean is "can write samples to the audio
device", and i do not agree that this is the goal at all, anymore than
the goal of Qt or GTK have the goal of "can blit pixels into the video
framebuffer" (even if they offer that functionality in one way or
another, mostly as special cases).

> I'm not saying we should limit, I'm saying we should standardize. Like,
> every system can play audio through ALSA. And for inter-app? I don't know.

for people who need a cross-platform solution, ALSA cannot be the API.
so the API has to be something that can easily accomodate ALSA's design.
and look, ALSA isn't a particularly evolved model (open/set
parameters/maybe poll/read or write, via mmap if desired/close), so its
not hard to represent that in a portable API.  

but inter-application is big, and ALSA is not adequate to cover it, at
least not with any level of end user convenience.

> In the future, maybe every inter-app can play through alsa's ajack. And
> maybe even later, we'll have networktranspartency through
> ajack-with-pa-enhancements. And so on. If this goal isn't there, if we're
> just here to screw each other, then what's the point?

i don't know why you would think that. i've spent the last 8 years
working more or less fulltime writing linux audio + MIDI applications
and infrastructure, and for 7 of those years, i did it without anyone
paying me to do so. i am as committed to a solid media framework for
linux as anyone, but i am also insistent that it has to be  (a)
inclusive of all use-cases that do not seriously hurt common use-cases
(b) allow for reasonably portable application design to other platforms.


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