[linux-audio-user] thoughts towards an ALSA configuration utility

Dave Phillips dlphillips at woh.rr.com
Mon Sep 12 11:03:20 EDT 2005


  While I was working on the JACK article I was reminded how much I rely 
on is Rui Capela's QJackCtl. I haven't touched JACK at the command-line 
in a long while, thanks to QJC.

  So I was thinking about the complexity of configuring ALSA and I 
started wondering what I'd want to see in a more complete ALSA 
configuration utility. I'm just rambling out loud here, so feel free to 
add and comment:

    1) A soundcard configuration utility that would install multiple 
drivers in a single pass, order and reorder devices as you wish, and 
provide useful help regarding module options. This utility would bundle 
the edit jobs for modules.conf and supply the information from modinfo. 
Optimally the modinfo output could be made selectable for instant 
addition to the configuration. [Add relevant info here for doing the 
same with the 2.6 modules system]

    2) An auto-generated .asoundrc, based on the capabilities of your 
cards and chipsets, and a facility for editing, saving and deleting that 
file. The editor should provide examples and explanations for the 
possible additions to .asoundrc.

    3) Built-in utilities for IRQ ordering and other hardware optimizations.

    4) A panel for a built-in mixer or facility to select a mixer, with 
a store/restore interface to alsactl. Ideally the built-in mixer would 
handle *any* soundcard supported by ALSA.

    5) Start/stop/restart ALSA from the utility.

    6) GUI for ALSA sequencer client connections.

    7) Integrated loaders for soundfonts and other patches.

    8) Display and control of ALSA's MIDI resources e.g. aseqnet, amidi,

Tooltips and other help should be available for every option and every 
part of the configurator to make the setup easy and quick.

I realize that this utility could get rather big. Perhaps something 
resembling xine's "level of mastery" could be added to divide the 
utility into basic and advanced configuration panels ?

I think ALSA is a great system, but fully understanding it is 
non-trivial, and its variety makes it difficult for a normal user to 
"see" the whole system. QJC envelopes JACK and its possibilities in such 
a way that it's often ready to rock at its defaults, and it makes it 
easy to further configure the server if necessary. Certainly something 
similar could happen for ALSA, yes ? A QAlsaCtl maybe ?

One problem: How to resist the temptation to refer to its acronym as 



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