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Thread: Rumblings in the Linux Audio World

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Rumblings in the Linux Audio World

    http://insanecoding.blogspot.com/200...-so-sorry.html
    This looks interesting, especially the offer of possible compromise and open dialogue from the OSS4 devs. I doubt the "other side" (ALSA/Pulse) will acknowledge this, especially Lennart Potterring (sp?) who continues to insist that OSS4 is irrelevant on Linux despite all of the people using it (I am one of these people). Nevertheless, I thought I would post the link in case something does take off.

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    I also use OSS4 since about a year. It solved all my problems, including high latency, annoying sound skips when there's heavy system load, and OSS applications blocking the sound card.

    And with this tip, it even works flawlessly with ALSA-only applications.

    IMO, OSS4 beats ALSA in many areas, including cross-platform support. Why Linux would choose a Linux-only sound API like ALSA is beyond my comprehension. One of the points in Linux is having interoperability betweens Unix platforms, and yet, they went and made ALSA, the "Advanced Linux Sound Architecture". An API that doesn't work in any other Unix system. This is a form of "vendor lock-in" and therefore evil. Developers who want their applications to also work in Solaris, FreeBSD, etc, are in effect told "screw those other systems and code for Linux only". That's something Microsoft would do. It was a mistake. OSS4 solves it and I really hope ALSA either enhances their OSS support or dies a violent death. That's not the way to do things in an open system like Linux.
    Last edited by RealNC; 06-22-2009 at 03:57 AM.

  3. #3

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    "screw those other systems and code for Linux only". That's something Microsoft would do. It was a mistake. OSS4 solves it and I really hope ALSA either enhances their OSS support or dies a violent death. That's not the way to do things in an open system like Linux.
    Can you give a single reason why Linux devs should care about concurrent systems? In my opinion OSS4 died, before its birth (I heard about this API or whatever years ago and it seems almost no one is interested). ALSA works flawlessly here - ATI Technologies Inc SBx00 Azalia (Intel HDA).

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    Quote Originally Posted by kraftman View Post
    Can you give a single reason why Linux devs should care about concurrent systems?
    Yes. And a very good one to boot: Running Unix programs as opposed to running Linux-only programs. I thought I made this quite obvious in my response.

    And what you claim doesn't make sense at all! Linux devs *are* interested about concurrent systems and have been since day 1. Linux was intended as a "Unix compatible OS". And sound should be part of that. And that means OSS since it's the de-facto standard for sound in Unix.

    So making ALSA better support OSS applications would be welcomed. Of course they're reluctant to do this; developers might start not using the ALSA API at all and rely on its OSS compatibility instead. Again, Microsoft-like politics: we create standards and APIs that no one else except us uses and push them like no tomorrow; screw all the others that already exist. That way, we will achieve a larger user-base because if the users want sound in their application, they will need to run it in Linux.

    This is unethical.


    In my opinion OSS4 died, before its birth (I heard about this API or whatever years ago and it seems almost no one is interested).
    The whole Unix world is interested! All the BSDs and Solaris for example. They don't have ALSA since it's a Linux-only API.
    Last edited by RealNC; 06-22-2009 at 06:04 AM.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by RealNC View Post
    Yes. And a very good one to boot: Running Unix programs as opposed to running Linux-only programs. I thought I made this quite obvious in my response.
    I asked for something else. I don't see a single benefit for Linux in supporting other OS'es.

    And what you claim doesn't make sense at all! Linux devs *are* interested about concurrent systems and have been since day 1. Linux was intended as a "Unix compatible OS". And sound should be part of that. And that means OSS since it's the de-facto standard for sound in Unix.
    Rather POSIX compatible. Intentions change sometimes:

    I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones.
    :>

    So making ALSA better support OSS applications would be welcomed. Of course they're reluctant to do this; developers might start not using the ALSA API at all and rely on its OSS compatibility instead. Again, Microsoft-like politics.
    Microsoft-like politics is no argument here. If Linux devs consider ALSA being better they won't use OSS4 etc.

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    I made my points and listed the benefits of thorough OSS support to users and developers. I'm waiting for yours now :P

    And, if ALSA can't change to better support OSS applications, then what's stopping us from scratching ALSA and using OSS4 instead? Well, I did and never looked back. "Freedom of choice" I guess.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by RealNC View Post
    I made my points and listed the benefits of thorough OSS support to users and developers. I'm waiting for yours now :P
    I know. There will/would be many benefits for Unix's world, but... personally, I want to see typical Unix's dead

    "Freedom of choice"
    That's it!

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    The biggest problem I see with OSS4 is that there's contradictory information about the licensing. 4Front Technologies seems to want to impose restrictions that are contrary to what the open-source licenses (not to mention US copyright law) allow.

    Quote Originally Posted by [url=http://4front-tech.com/hannublog/?p=8#comment-553]4Front Technologies[/url]
    GPL is the license of the source code of OSS. You can compile, link, modify and redistribute the source code or binaries derived from it. All this is covered by the GPL license which defines your rights as a software developer.

    However when you invoke OSS you need to follow the licensing policy defined by 4Front Technologies. We as the initial developer and the copyright owner of Open Sound System we have legal rights to define the terms for use. What our licensing policy says has higher priority than whatever the GPL says.

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    From the same blog:

    "OSS is released under GPL for anybody who use OSS in GPL compatible way."

    If you want to use it in a non-GPL way, *then* you have to contact them and "follow the licensing policy defined by 4Front Technologies" (and probably pay). Pretty much the same what Trolltech was doing with Qt before version 4.5.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RealNC View Post
    From the same blog:

    "OSS is released under GPL for anybody who use OSS in GPL compatible way."

    If you want to use it in a non-GPL way, *then* you have to contact them and "follow the licensing policy defined by 4Front Technologies" (and probably pay). Pretty much the same what Trolltech was doing with Qt before version 4.5.
    Yes, but their idea of "GPL-compatible" seems to be that you are not allowed to use GPL-incompatible applications on a GPL OSS installation without a commercial license. From that same thread:

    GPL is all about the availability of the source code and that’s it. GPLv2 says that “you have to distribute the source code and charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution” (which is for free in our case). This is exactly what we do.

    GPL also says that “if you distribute copies of such a program, whether
    gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that
    you have. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the
    source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their
    rights.”. This is also exactly what we have done.

    OSS is “gratis” if you use it with GPLed applications under GPLed operating gystems. It’s “for a fee” (you need to buy a commercial license from 4Front Technologies) if you use it in any other environment. This is “all your rights”. If you redistribute OSS you must give the recipient “all the rights” you have (recursively).
    (emphasis added)

    This person seems to be very confused about the purpose and scope of the GPL.

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