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Old 7th October 2008
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vermaden vermaden is offline
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Smile Linux: Pulse My Audio

Some nice thoughts about audio playgound on Linux land.

Originally Posted by http://linuxhaters.blogspot.com/2008/10/pulse-my-audio.html
Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pulse my audio

I was saving this one until this article became free on LWN.net. It's awesomeness is truly unparalleled.

Let me attempt to summarize.

A) PulseAudio needs to work with existing applications, so it implements an ALSA emulation layer, except, it's not complete. Only 70% of ALSA applications work. So it's like, totally ready.

B) So, in the true open source fashion, you should port your app to be a native PulseAudio client. Except that you can't. There's this yet-another-audio-library called libsidney, but it's not ready yet. (Hmm, this sounds familiar...)

C) Fedora led the way in incorporating PulseAudio before it was ready, breaking audio for thousands of users. Then because open source is about copying good ideas and bad ones, a ton of other distros adopted it as well. Amazing guys. In a way, you've spread bad code that breaks audio on thousands of computers faster than a virus could have. And it's immune to antivirus!

D) so now that we're in this "mess" (as the lead developer of PulseAudio calls it*), LSB comes along and says "we're going to standardize how your write audio apps!" Oh, but wait, ALSA's now "old" (we hardly knew ye), and I can't directly program PulseAudio. Hmm... So the article's brilliant solution? Standardize on the PulseAudio-safe subset of ALSA.


I can just imagine the future alsa man page. A big listing of functions, with a nice little asterisk next to those functions that you shouldn't use unless you want your app to totally FAIL on a system which has been sodomized by Pulse Audio. I can just see the developers of commercial Linux sound apps (all three of them) jumping for joy.

And thus unfolds another chapter in long history of failed sound systems on Linux. Can they make it much worse? I, for one, am excited to see how much worse they can make it until we all go back to listening to square waves on our PC speakers.

* BTW, also notice that it's the PulseAudio guy calling Linux audio a mess. Did he forget that it was his project that took the existing mess, and unloaded a giant steaming turd on it? Congratufuckinglations. You've just made it worse. You're a truly a worthy OSS contributor.
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