[LAU] A survey if you don't mind - results

Len Ovens len at ovenwerks.net
Sat Oct 25 16:35:58 UTC 2014

On Sat, 25 Oct 2014, Will Godfrey wrote:

> OK final results. I've had to make the following adjustments to the figures.
> So we have:
> Audio
> ALSA    6%
> JACK   74%
> Either 18%
> Other   2% (both referring to Alsa, Jack and Pulse)
> ALSA   23%
> JACK   26%
> Either 44%
> Other   7% ( 6 didn't use MIDI and the 7th mentioned a2j)
>> From this I think we can conclude that direct use of ALSA is far from dead yet,
> and for MIDI it's neck and neck with jack. I hope this will be useful to all
> the Linux audio devs out there.

I wonder how many choices are based on the SW in use rather than choice 
of audio driver. Some one using an application like audacity with a broken 
jack implementation or one of the midi apps that only does ALSA midi, have 
less choices.

Someone developing embedded HW has to develop ALSA drivers 
first then get jack to work on that platform as well. There are lots of 
jack client walk throughs, but no guide at all on writing jack backends 
that might allow such people to go direct to jack. The info is probably 
right in front of my face but not in a way I see it... In any case I think 
any backend is either jack1 or jack2.

a2jmidi (at least with jack2) does not clearly make the HW midi ports look 
like they belong in jack midi, giving the user the idea that alsa midi 
makes more sense. While it is true that HW midi ports are becoming rare, 
USB midi still shows up like hw ports.

Anything using long sysex midi uses alsa midi. SO this choice is made by 
jack itself. (I know work is being done to allow jack to do non-rt midi 
transfers, but it will take some time for developers to make use of it)

The midi jack/alsa thing is getting more complex with applications 
choosing one or the other and forcing the user to use both. a2jmidi is 
really a way of using both, but allowing the connections to be made in one 

These are meant to observations, I am personally glad to have all these 
things working as well as they do now. But it is obvious that people's 
choices of audio/midi backends is based on more than dis/likes.

> If I can remember, I might try this again in a years time.

That would be interesting.

Len Ovens

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