[linux-audio-dev] Best-performing Linux-friendly MIDI interfaces?

Paul Davis paul at linuxaudiosystems.com
Sat May 28 20:25:02 UTC 2005

>what is the 'easiest' MIDI interface to get working under the average
>Linux kernel?  what sort of experiences do folks have with getting
>MIDI working (on a programming level) using API's such as (but not
>limited to) ALSA, and MidiShare?
>for me so far, MidiShare seems to offer the most direct and usable
>approach .. while ALSA is wraught with complexity and dependencies
>which often seem out of control.  i'd like to know what your
>experience, as developers, has been with getting a working MIDI
>subsystem under Linux ...
i can speak up as someone who has avoided any interactions with the
ALSA sequencer for years because of a similar perception. i recently
converted Tim Thompson's KeyKit from its raw MIDI port-based
implementation under Linux to one that uses the ALSA sequencer (and
adding multiport support along the way). it was suprisingly easy and
obvious, given a simple example (in this case, the "ALSA sequencer
MIDI Port object" that someone contributed to Ardour). even more
gratifying was comparing the code to the keykit implementations for
win32 and CoreMidi. the ALSA sequencer one was smaller, more logical
and less bogged down in details.
i still think that the ALSA sequencer implementation has a serious
design issue by being located in the kernel, but the API for doing
what most people need to do most of the time seems relatively
straightforward, and the implementation seems efficient and

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