Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Jul 2009 21:38 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes It's time for another "OSNews asks" item. This time, I want to focus on something that I've been wanting to talk about with you all before, but never found the time for. The question is simple: which feature(s) from other operating systems would you like to see in your own main operating system?
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Comment by i92guboj
by i92guboj on Thu 16th Jul 2009 01:56 UTC
i92guboj
Member since:
2009-07-16

If I had to choose something I'd ask Santa to bring me a working sound system for Linux.

Currently neither ALSA nor OSS4 works ok, the mixer interface is pure crap and depends too much on the hardware, to the point that some programs will or won't run correctly depending on the card (some models don't even have a working master control).

Those who use an Audigy SE or LE probably have suffered things like this. Oh, and let alone the issue with surround... getting it to work is a pain, a complete pain, and even when you get it to work is only to discover that you will live better with stereo, because once you enable surround dmix stops working, which means you can't use the sound device as long as something else is using it.

ALSA is a monster, I am no fan of it. And some drivers are particularly bad.

OSS4 works well with a number of devices, but not at all with others. Its main problem for the moment, if you can get it to work with your card, is the total lack of any functional midi system. The other problem is that it offers no compatibility layer for ALSA, which is a problem because most serious audio applications don't support anything else, but ALSA (yes, I know that OSS4 can't be blamed because everyone ignores it, but the fact is that I can't use most sound apps with it, period).

The rest of the crap available serves I-don't-know-what-purpose, and is built in top of either ALSA or OSS: like pulse, jack, esd, arts, and several others.

Too much stuff, nothing that works easily and on a comprehensive way. I use linux since 1995, and it's been *my only* OS (besides testing and playing around) since 2001, and the situation hasn't improved much. If anything, I think that now it's worse than ever.

The OSS 3d graphics drivers are not in the best shape either, that is, unless you plan to use a card that's two or three generations older than the current one. That means that we will get a good support for today's nvidia and ati cards around 2015.

Yes, we can try the closed drivers, when they work at all they can temporarily solve your problem. However they create a wide range of annoyances, specially the ati ones, like having to live with an outdated kernel and/or X server.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by i92guboj
by phoenix on Thu 16th Jul 2009 15:46 in reply to "Comment by i92guboj"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

The other problem is that it offers no compatibility layer for ALSA, which is a problem because most serious audio applications don't support anything else, but ALSA (yes, I know that OSS4 can't be blamed because everyone ignores it, but the fact is that I can't use most sound apps with it, period).


Yes, in fact it does. Install OSS4. Install ALSA. Configure ALSA to use OSS4 as the backend. Voila! You now have full ALSA software compatibility, with all the hardware goodness of OSS4 (including mixing multiple audio streams from ALSA apps, since OSS4 does the mixing).

There are a couple of different how-tos out there for setting things up this way. Everyone who does agrees that it's the best way to go for now.

Reply Parent Score: 4