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Old 20th November 2015
Adrien2002 Adrien2002 is offline
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Default A new sound server for NetBSD

Hello everybody,
I want to make the point with you about NetBSD audio in 2016.

What do we have on other operating system ?

Windows and OSX have their own sound server providing a way to mix different sounds.

GNU/Linux have ALSA (sub-module) and also PulseAudio (sound server over ALSA). Both of them provide a way to mix audio when you need to listen to, for example, speak on a VOiP software and play a game.

FreeBSD have their own OSS compatibility layer (not sure at all how do they do)

OpenBSD have their own sound server called sndio

What about NetBSD ?

Actually, NetBSD has nothing else but the OSS sub-module directly connected to softwares that claim for audio. It simply mean that if a software is using sound, no other software will be able to use it : the audio device will be "busy".

So what should we do ?

I think we should simply make a little layer, a little sound server between softwares and sub-module, very discret, compatible with mixerctl, audioctl, audiocfg etc... and directly included in the kernel for everyone.

I don't think this is an impossible task and even sure it mustn't be hard (I'm not even sure we need to create something for that).

So I am here to ask to people who may have knowledges or ideas to make this possible and help to improve NetBSD experience for newcomers and people who want to use NetBSD for multimedia and desktop usage

Thank you for reading my message, I appreciate it
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Old 20th November 2015
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darktrym darktrym is offline
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I think later version of OSS(not the old from NetBSD) supports already audio mixing. Also pulseaudio is availabe for NetBSD.
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Old 20th November 2015
Oko Oko is offline
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NetBSD project has far greater problems than the sound server.
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Old 20th November 2015
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cynwulf cynwulf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko View Post
NetBSD project has far greater problems than the sound server.
You probably need to justify that statement - but maybe not in this thread...?
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Old 20th November 2015
shep shep is offline
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Here is a dated solution to the OP.

If you want to take a shot at an alternative implementation, you may want to look at NetBSD libao
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Old 20th November 2015
Oko Oko is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynwulf View Post
You probably need to justify that statement - but maybe not in this thread...?
We already went through this exercise

http://daemonforums.org/showthread.php?t=8810

If you don't want to read this is a brief summary
  1. 2005 Google acquired Android Inc. dashing hopes that technically superior NetBSD will be used as a base for its OS.
  2. 2006 Charles Hannum one of the original founders expresses his concerns about the future of NetBSD
  3. 2009 Wasabi Systems Inc. (heavy NetBSD user/sponsor) is out of business
  4. 2013 Julio Merino one of NetBSD Board of Directors gives up
    http://julipedia.meroh.net/2013/06/s...ng-netbsd.html
  5. In fiscal year 2014 project has raised only 25K but even more disturbingly they spent little less than 30K. That is about the electric bill of DragonFly BSD let alone bigger BSD projects.
  6. 2015 in an e-mail exchange concerning removal of GNU Troff aka. Groff from the base of NetBSD Ingo Schwarze maintainer of mdoc and OpenBSD developer reviled that NetBSD man pages have not being updated since 2009.
  7. 2015 NetBSD 7.0 has being released almost 3 years after the release of NetBSD of 6.0. The major "achievement" of the long awaited release is that NetBSD now runs on Raspberry Pi.

Let me repeat my statement. The lack of the audio server is the least of NetBSD problems. The whole project is on the life support.

Last edited by Oko; 20th November 2015 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 20th November 2015
Adrien2002 Adrien2002 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darktrym View Post
I think later version of OSS(not the old from NetBSD) supports already audio mixing. Also pulseaudio is availabe for NetBSD.
PulseAudio is available but is suffering of a loop causing 100 % of CPU usage

So if we had the very last version of OSS, we could have mixing sound natively just like FreeBSD ?

NetBSD project has far greater problems than the sound server ? So it is not a reason to work on the sound server ?

Oko, this solution isn't really a solution : "esdplay" as described in the tutorial is only used to play a file, not to start softwares with esound (when, for example, "padsp" in front of a software will start it with PulseAudio sound server) or maybe I didn't understand how to use EsounD...
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Old 20th November 2015
Oko Oko is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrien2002 View Post
NetBSD project has far greater problems than the sound server ? So it is not a reason to work on the sound server ?
I am looking forward for your diffs.
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Old 21st November 2015
shep shep is offline
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Quote:
Oko, this solution isn't really a solution : "esdplay" as described in the tutorial is only used to play a file, not to start softwares with esound (when, for example, "padsp" in front of a software will start it with PulseAudio sound server) or maybe I didn't understand how to use EsounD...
From the link I provided in my earlier post:

Quote:
Now it's just a matter of telling your audio producing programs to send their audio to the ESD daemon which is running. Here's how to do that for a few common programs:

mpg321: mpg321 -o esd
ogg123: ogg123 -d esd
mplayer: mplayer -ao esd
No guarantee it will work
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Old 21st November 2015
pygope pygope is offline
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Default esd

Quote:
Originally Posted by shep View Post
From the link I provided in my earlier post:



No guarantee it will work
It works. In fact is what I use to get sound in NetBSD. Pulseaudio hangs out frecuently in my system. But esd isn't perfect neither. Sometimes I get no audio.

But esd was deprecated long time ago. Linux systems use pulseaudio instead.

Furthermore, not all multimedia apps in NetBSD supports esound. VLC and adobe-flash as examples.
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Old 21st November 2015
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sacerdos_daemonis sacerdos_daemonis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pygope View Post
But esd was deprecated long time ago. Linux systems use pulseaudio instead.
Actually, some Linux systems still use ALSA as the default and leave use of Pulse Audio as the choice of individual users. And just because Pulse Audio is taking over Linux is not a reason for BSD to adopt it. Especially since Pulse is crap. There is a reason many Linux users do not use it.
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Old 21st November 2015
Oko Oko is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sacerdos_daemonis View Post
Actually, some Linux systems still use ALSA as the default and leave use of Pulse Audio as the choice of individual users. And just because Pulse Audio is taking over Linux is not a reason for BSD to adopt it. Especially since Pulse is crap. There is a reason many Linux users do not use it.
Since we are leaving this electronic trace it is worth mentioning that before ALSA Linux was also using OSS but they decided they can do "much better".

Last edited by Oko; 21st November 2015 at 04:52 AM.
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Old 21st November 2015
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I forgot about that. Thanks for reminding me.
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Old 21st November 2015
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If I remember correctly, and I may not, this had to do with licensing. Linux does its best to stick with GPL stuff and I don't know if the license changed or never was, but I believe that was part of the driving force behind the change, OSS wasn't GPL. . Of course, then I was young(er--but not young) and more sarcastic so one of my comments was that as alsa started as muted by default, it was probably developed by kids watching porn in their parents' basements.

As for pulseaudio, those who are really into sound seem to think that nowadays it does a better job, but for my needs, I don't know. I'm able to more or less avoid it on most installs, but have, to be honest, found it handy at times when a recalcitrant HDMI card wouldn't give me sound.

I actually thought of installing it last night on a FreeBSD laptop that, for some odd reason, wouldn't work with headphones. In the end I did a fresh install and headphones worked. (Obviously, not the ideal solution for anything important, but this is a machine where I constantly install stuff, delete, and reinstall.)

TL;DR
One reason, supposedly, that Linux switched from OSS to alsa had to do with GPL licensing.
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Old 21st November 2015
kamil kamil is offline
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Few days ago I started to improve NetBSD support within PulseAudio. My goal is to add there a module for the native audio(4) device.
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Old 21st November 2015
Oko Oko is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kamil View Post
Few days ago I started to improve NetBSD support within PulseAudio. My goal is to add there a module for the native audio(4) device.
Just curios. Does PulseAudio compile on Amiga, Atari, VAX ports or even sparc64? What should I do if I want to listen simultaneously multiple audio streams on those platforms.
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Old 21st November 2015
kamil kamil is offline
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PulseAudio currently isn't buildable on: Atari Amiga and VAX. You can install it on Sparc64.

You need a different mixer for these platforms. For example you can play with libao on Atari and Amiga.
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Old 21st November 2015
Oko Oko is offline
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Quote:
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PulseAudio currently isn't buildable on: Atari Amiga and VAX. You can install it on Sparc64.

You need a different mixer for these platforms. For example you can play with libao on Atari and Amiga.
That was a point I was trying to make. If NetBSD is priding itself as being most portable OS wouldn't it make sense to have a simple native NetBSD sound server which would work out of box on all 56 architectures you guys claim to support? Once you start bringing things like PulseAudio and even worse cross compiling everything on amd64 one honestly has to ask what does NetBSD have to offer? This is the question Charles Hannum asked 2006 and Julio Merino repeated 2013. NetBSD had and still has few jams in its disposal: regression testing tools, WAPBL, Xen Dom0, NPF, it was first one to have time 64 even though everyone things it was OpenBSD to be the first, 64-bit support on ARM and maybe something that I forgot. However even those are very little known outside the project. In the recent series of interviews with NetBSD and OpenBSD developers done by that Polish guy the most noticeable difference between two camps was the following.
Not a single NetBSD developer use NetBSD in her/his day job. On the another hand the livelihood of every interviewed OpenBSD developer depends on the OpenBSD and it was in most cases the only OS they use at work. That is scary. How do you expect other people like me who run UNIX for living to use NetBSD when people who are core developers are not using it at work?

I know I am over the top again. I am going to shut up. Admins don't have to ban me again.

Last edited by Oko; 23rd November 2015 at 05:02 AM.
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Old 21st November 2015
pygope pygope is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko View Post
That was a point I was trying to make. If NetBSD is priding itself as being most portable OS wouldn't it make sense to have a simple native NetBSD sound server which would work out of box on all 56 architectures you guys claim to support?
That was what Adrien2002 was asking for when he opened this thread.

Quote:
Not a single NetBSD developer used NetBSD in her/his day job. On the another hand the livelihood of every single OpenBSD developer depended on the OpenBSD and it was in most cases the only OS they used at work. That is scary. How do you expect other people like me who run UNIX for living to use NetBSD when people who are core developers are not using it at work?
I noticed that myself. And it is really a shame and worrying. I only use my computer as a desktop, and I really like NetBSD, but if you google "NetBSD review", first appearance is a blog article whose title is "NetBSD: Designed to fail", and you cannot find any review about 7.0 release. Even looking in distrowatch it seems that nobody has made a serious review since 5.x.
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Old 22nd November 2015
bashrules bashrules is offline
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This is the wrong thread, but I really would like to see an honest list of weaknesses of NetBSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD and perhaps various Linux distributions.

That would help to make the right choice of OS upfront. Also, it might make coders to jump in.
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