[LAD] ALSA doumentation

Fons Adriaensen fons at kokkinizita.net
Sun Nov 16 02:15:08 UTC 2008

On Sat, Nov 15, 2008 at 08:37:58PM -0500, Fred Gleason wrote:

> > If you look at any kernel level subsystem such as networking or access
> > to ordinary disk files. None of such applications want to know anything
> > about the actual hardware details. I have not seen any PHP or CGI
> > scripts/programs that try to switch the NIC card to use 1 gigabit
> > signalling rate instead of the 10 mbit one supported by the network HUB.
> Actually, I can think of cases where something like that could be extremely 
> useful -- a network analyzer or monitor, for example.  It's not a common 
> requirement (just as altering the sample clock sync source is not a common 
> requirement for most audio apps), but absolutely needed for some problem 
> domains.

And there is such a thing as 'network management'. 
It's nothing new.

> One of the nice things about the Un*x design paradigm is how the goal is 
> consistently been "to make simple things easy, and hard things possible".  
> Unfortunately, in the world of audio APIs, it seems that we've fallen between 
> two stools: we have one API that makes simple things easy, but hard things 
> *impossible*, and another that makes *everything* possible, but also hard.

It's much worse than that. There are more and more system level
modules being designed or written by people who have apparently
never seen anything but a single user looking at a desktop, who
seem to think that all computers are used like that and that
their limited experience should define everybody's limits.

The result is desktop-specific configuration being implemented
at the wrong place. Just one example: in many systems permissions
of the audio devices are set by the desktop login manager. So if
you do a remote login to a headless machine you can't use the audio.
Now this is completely inconsistent: if any member of the audio group
can bring down a machine by running real-time threads and locking
unlimited amounts of memory, then there's no problem with giving
them access to the devices as well. All you need is an udev rule.

Another braindead thing is the 'Destktop Directories'. Even if
you don't run a desktop that needs them, some clever bloke wants
to impose his childish home directory structure. And it's done in
an insane way: some binary called from the X11 startup scripts.
And oh yes, in the same way as for spam, you can opt out. But
only if you are prepared to leave some junk config files in your
home (the sane solution is to remove the packages once and for



Laboratorio di Acustica ed Elettroacustica
Parma, Italia

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