[linux-audio-user] Sound servers conflict

Dave Phillips dlphilp at bright.net
Tue Feb 8 16:17:39 EST 2005

Hillel wrote:

> 1. Is there a way to resolve such a situation, in a way that allows 
> two programs that use different sound servers to play sounds at the 
> same time?

It looks as though this part of your message got answered, so...

> 2. A more basic question: Why do we have to use sound servers in 
> Linux? shouldn't it be the job of the operating system to allow sound 
> multiplexing through a set of standard API's? The situation is 
> especially bad, if there is no comfortable solution to the problem in 
> my first question.

The answer to this question is bound up in some relatively uninteresting 
and obvious Linux history. The situation has changed recently, and there 
is now the possibility of ALSA providing software multiplexing. The 
problem is that this software mixing is not automatic or transparent to 
the user, it requires the composition of a small script (called 
.asoundrc), less long than this email but of apparently such awesome 
complexity that normal users faint with horror at the prospect.

Sorry, I was being silly, but it's the silly truth. The necessary 
.asoundrc file is hardly a difficult thing to write, but I'll still 
agree with the naive user: it's the sort of thing that can and should be 
handled transparently by ALSA during system configuration. Some kind of 
default .asoundrc could be autogenerated for chipsets that don't support 
hardware mixing, perhaps ? Well, history again: ALSA has only recently 
been adopted as the kernel sound system, and many of its features remain 
hidden to the average user. Hopefully we'll see more of those features 
become more easily available to users, without the need for user-written 



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