[linux-audio-user] Making Audio on Linux Just Work: (1) defining the goals

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To: A list for linux audio users <linux-audio-user@...>
Date: Monday, December 12, 2005 - 4:45 pm

( LAU folk: this is an initial outline of an email I want to dispatch to
the desktop-architects list in the very near future. Your comments
are eagerly sought. Note that this section specifically seeks to
avoid any discussion of implementations or specific approachs. I
would like to fully flesh out the list of tasks ASAP )

Making Sound Just Work
------------------------

One of the "second tier" of requirements mentioned several times at
the OSDL Portland Linux Desktop Architects workshop was "making audio
on Linux just work". Many people find it easy to leave this
requirement lying around in various lists of goals and requirements,
but before we can make any progress on defining a plan to implement
the goal, we first need to define it rather more precisely.

DEFINING THE GOAL
=================

The list below is a set of tasks that a user could reasonably expect
to perform on a computer running Linux that has access to zero, one
or more audio interfaces.

The desired task should either work, or produce a sensible and
comprehensible error message explaining why it failed. For example,
attempting to control input gain on a device that has no hardware
mixer should explain that the device has no controls for input gain.

PLAYBACK

- play a compressed audio file
* user driven (e.g. play(1))
* app driven (e.g. {kde,gnome_play}_audiofile())
- play a PCM encoded audio file (specifics as above)
- hear system sounds
- VOIP
- game audio
- music composition
- music editing
- video post production

RECORDING

- record from hardware inputs
* use default audio interface
* use other audio interface
* specify which h/w input to use
* control input gain
- record from other application(s)
- record from live (network-delivered) compressed audio
streams

MIXING

- control h/w mixer device (if any)

* allow use of a generic app for this
* NOTE to non-audio-focused readers: the h/w mixer
is part of the audio interface that is used
to control signal levels, input selection
for recording, and other h/w specific features.
Some pro-audio interfaces do not have a h/w mixer,
most consumer ones do. It has almost nothing
to do with "hardware mixing" which describes
the ability of the h/w to mix together multiple
software-delivered audio data streams.

- multiple applications using soundcard simultaneously
- control application volumes independently
- provide necessary apps for controlling specialized
hardware (e.g. RME HDSP, ice1712, ice1724, liveFX)

ROUTING

- route audio to specific h/w among several installed devices
- route audio between applications
- route audio across network

MULTIUSER

- which of the above should work in a multi-user scenario?

MISC

- use multiple soundcards as a single logical device

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Messages in current thread:
[linux-audio-user] Making Audio on Linux Just Work: (1) defi..., Paul Davis, (Mon Dec 12, 4:45 pm)
Re: [linux-audio-user] Making Audio on Linux Just Work: (1) ..., Christoph Eckert, (Tue Dec 13, 10:23 pm)
[linux-audio-user] Has anybody used LMMS?, Sean Edwards, (Mon Dec 12, 7:47 pm)
Re: [linux-audio-user] Has anybody used LMMS?, Andrew Lewis, (Tue Dec 13, 5:13 am)
Re: [linux-audio-user] Has anybody used LMMS?, Sean Edwards, (Tue Dec 13, 3:29 am)
Re: [linux-audio-user] Has anybody used LMMS?, tim hall, (Tue Dec 13, 11:42 am)