Friday, May 22, 2009

The State of Audio on Linux Part 1 – Insufficient Memory

Note 26-09-2012: I was going to do a series of articles on the sordid state of Linux Audio as it was in 2009, but as with a lot of things, this got sidetracked and forgotten. This post remains for historical purposes.

My memory sucks.

Yesterday, I was talking with Jonathan (a friend) about Linux on the Desktop, and I remembered something I had read half-a-year previous about the state of audio on Linux. I couldn’t remember what it was, only that it involved mixing – I put it down to the inability to do hardware mixing.

This was the article I read. Oops. ^///^

For those not willing to RTFA, it talks about the history of Linux audio. First there was OSS. Then OSS became proprietary (teh EVILS!), and then the free version of OSS got old, so ALSA was built to replace it. Unfortunately, ALSA was completely incompatible with OSS, so they had to include emulation to support both older apps and people who didn’t want to learn ALSA. But the emulation wasn’t all that good in that it doesn’t do software mixing, which defeats the purpose of using ALSA in the first place.

So, to sum up, ALSA doesn’t do software mixing for its OSS compat stuff. My bad.

OK, so how is Audio on Desktop Linux really? Stay tuned!