Improvements in the soundsystem

Alexander Leidinger netchild at
Sun Sep 24 09:12:20 PDT 2006

Quoting User1001 <supraexpress at> (Sun, 24 Sep 2006 09:30:07 -0500):

CCing multimedia@, more people are interested in this.

> Advances in audio controls is good and important. I would really LIKE to
> be able to control my entire soundcard with native FreeBSD
> functionality, and I would like to see audio S/W "grow up" and provide
> functionality beyond the "simple" stereo image, especially since I have
> multiple 5.1 audio hardware (soundcard, speakers, headphones), that
> right now, are pretty much useless for anything BUT "simple" stereo.

This one will be addressed by the patches from Ariff and by the commit
we are talking about (and some more work).

> One request that _I_ would add to the continuing development of audio
> S/W is the full usability and control of real MIDI devices (not S/W
> emulation), which is usually a function of the soundcard or another
> addon card specifically for MIDI. Attempts to enhance emu10k for full
> MIDI control have not been very fruitful (for me, anyhow) with a
> Soundblaster Live! soundcard, so perhaps more advances in the audio
> infrastructure will help.

This one is not addressed at all. We have MIDI stuff in -current, but
it is far from complete. And we have nobody who is interested in
improving it. I don't have MIDI stuff myself (except maybe build-in
stuff in the soundcard, but I have no need for it), so I'm not the
right person to do something here (except committing stuff submitted by
other people). Ariff is working on the generic sound stuff in his rare
free time. There are some people which work on some audio driver
(envy24, emu10kx), but all of them don't have much time and it doesn't
look like they work on generic MIDI stuff. Ryan may be interested in
it, but he is busy with classes and continuing to improve the stuff he
did in the SoC.

So it's not about objections to improve this part, it's about lack of
resources. If some people here with C skills are interested in
improving it but don't feel skilled enough: forget about your skills,
just try to do it. If you don't know something, ask on multimedia at . I'm
sure there are enough people which can point to helpful resources. I
can also arrange access to the FreeBSD wiki in case those people want
to coordinate and collaborate there.

An example where we got several improvements in a short timeframe by
using a wiki page is the linux stuff, for more. I would like to do
something like this for sound too. If someone has some ideas what to
list on such a page for sound, please tell me about it and I will
create the initial page. We don't have enough man-power in the sound
system and if you wait for someone else to do something, nothing will
be done. So please, take 5-10 minutes and write something up, send it
to me, and I will put it up on the wiki. If everyone just picks a small
item and fixes something (you don't need to be able to program, it is
even enough if we get a list of things which work and which don't at
the beginning, e.g., MIDI allows to do x, y and z, and we only can do
half of y in FreeBSD), we all get a huge improvement.


> Alexander Leidinger wrote:
> > Quoting Sam Leffler <sam at> (Sat, 23 Sep 2006 14:23:17 -0700):
> > 
> >> Can you please post something about what this addition means to users?
> >> e.g. you can now run xyz apps that previously didn't work or were crippled.
> > 
> > I'm not aware of an application which makes use of those features. ATM
> > you can think about it as pure infrastructure work.
> > 
> > As soon as some parts are pushed down into drivers, you have better
> > control about your hardware. ATM the mixer only shows hardcoded stuff.
> > There are less controls than there are output jacks on some soundcards.
> > These changes provide the kernel interface to change the drivers to
> > control the volume of each output channel the card provides.
> > 
> > Ariff has some other changes in the wings which allow us to work better
> > with multi-channel stuff (e.g., 5.1 surround instead of only stereo).
> > But AFAIK this is just about the internals of the soundsystem. The SoC
> > project provides a kernel interface to some of this new stuff.
> > 
> > When 4Front freezes the API (there are parts which aren't fully set in
> > stone yet) we will be able to give names to some parts of the
> > soundsystem, query the name of the currently running song (if set) and
> > some other nice stuff. Already possible is the synchronized start of
> > multiple channels (even across devices), but an application has to
> > contain code to use this feature. There's also better control of
> > mute/pause, but again, I'm not aware of an application which uses this
> > ATM.
> > 
> > And while I'm at it: I want to highlight the docs of the functions in
> > the kernel. I'm generating a PDF with doxygen right now and it will be
> > available from later (have a
> > look at the date, it should be recent and not from last month as it is
> > as of this writting).
> > 
> > Bye,
> > Alexander.
> > 

      ...and that is how we know the Earth to be banana-shaped.  Alexander @ PGP ID = B0063FE7     netchild @  : PGP ID = 72077137

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