[linux-audio-dev] OSS will be back (was Re: alsa, oss , efficiency?)

Hannu Savolainen hannu at opensound.com
Thu Nov 2 14:51:19 UTC 2006

Hi folks,

The "deprecated" OSS issue needs some clarification. It's just the 
OSS/Free drivers that are still hanging around in the kernel. that are 
depracated. They are based on 10 years old version of the OSS 
architecture and lack all the improvements and features added during 
past years.

However the real OSS by 4Front Technoliges is there to stay. While OSS 
is "binary only" at this moment the situation is changing. We are about 
to release OSS 4.0 under some open source license. We still need to 
decide the exact license (GPL, CDDL, BSD or some combination of them) 
before releasing the sources but that should happen in the near future 
(maybe weeks or months).

The whole "OSS is depracated" issue is just  marketing propaganda used 
to enforce application developers to jump to the ALSA API. Without this 
developers would stick with OSS which is several magnitudes easier API 
to use.

OSS and ALSA are very different APIs. OSS is designed for professional 
software developers who should get their job done within tight 
schedules. For this reason it has strong device abstraction. Everything 
that could be automated has been automated. ALSA in turn is designed for 
hackers (in the 1st place) who like to tweak every possible detail of 
the hardware. This means there is practically no device abstraction and 
the application should be more or less aware of the capabilities of the 
hardware. Which API works better depends on the nature of the 
application. This decision should not be driven by some political issues 
as today.

My message is that if you prefer OSS over ALSA then there is no need to 
convert the code. OSS has been in the shadows during past couple of 
years. However it will be back,  We are working on an OSS version that 
makes it possible to ALSA and OSS to co-exist. Both OSS and ALSA will be 
_native_ code (no emulation). In this way all Linux audio applications 
will work regardless of which API they use.

Best regards,


lemmel wrote:

>Le mercredi 01 novembre 2006 16:51, Kjetil S. Matheussen a écrit :
>>Only the oss modules in the linux kernel are deprecated. Programs using
>>the OSS api will still continue to work, currently most importantly
>>because of the oss emulation module in alsa.
>I knew that the oss module was deprecated, and I infered that using the OSS 
>mecanism was too deprecated :-P. Are sure [1]?
>>If you should choose between alsa and oss, and the oss version works
>>just as well, or better than the alsa version, choose oss, because its a
>>more portable API than alsa.
>What do you mean by "the oss version works just as well, or better than the 
>alsa version" ?
>>However, if I were you, I would use sndlib, portaudio, jack, or some other
>>higher level audio input/output library instead of oss or alsa.
>Well, all the files, that I will play, will have the same charactistics, do I 
>really need to bother with an hi-level API [2] ?
>[1] I noticed that a lot of applications still use OSS, and I thought it was 
>because the migration to ALSA was too complex.
>[2] Futhermore I am afraid that an hi-level API will produce time drifts in 
>the playing.

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