From experience I know that a task like this can not be taken lightly. I've been developing a lightweight 3D audio library for years and only recently it got in a state I find acceptable (but maybe I've got too high standards). It's called AeonWave and is available for Linux and Windows now: http://www.adalin.com
Although it is not Freeware, it is cheap and a royalty free (but limited) version of the library is available.
I am a fan of Free and Open Source software though (hence the many open source side projects and more to come).
This project was started out of frustration for the state of OpenAL-Sample years ago (and in some ways still today with OpenAL-Soft) and renders about 6 times faster than both. As time passed proper stereo mixing and effects supports has been added as well as support for audio-frames which can be used for sub-mixing and to move multiple sound emitters around simultaneously in a 3d environment.
This library however is not meant to be a replacement for ALSA, PulseAudio or OSS but instead it simply uses one of them as a backend. I really wouldn't want to think of this much code added the the kernel..
Personally I think the library fills a gap that both OS-X and Windows already have a solution for and the fact that it can render (3d) audio up to 7 times faster (and I see some room for more improvement) and can be setup for latencies as low as 2 msec means it is well thought out in my honest opinion.
is exactly what we need...
being happy alsa user for years. didnt have any issues with it for quite a while.
Let me remind you principle that ANY engineer follows, IF IT'S AINT BROKEN - DON'T FIX IT!
89c51 was fired soon after.
This is why we can't have nice things.
There's always one asshole who thinks he can do better.
In the end we have 10 different things that does the same thing, but none of them work very well.
Fix what is already there, asshole.
Next time you say something is broken at least be able to tell why you believe this (the rocket because it exploded, a car because it crashed, etc.)