No they are not related, unfortunately.
So let’s start with last night’s changes in ALSA, in particualr to alsa-firmware ebuild: the ebuild now looks at the ALSA_CARDS settings, as alsa-driver does, to decide which firmwares to install. Doing this not only reduces the size of the installed data, avoiding installing firmwares for cards you don’t have or don’t care about (you might just have one single card and just want firmware for that one), but also has the nice extra of allowing me to depend on the package needed to load the firmware, that means alsa-tools for hdsploader and fwload for usb-usx2y.
Unfortunately for this reason, I’m now waiting for sparc and ppc64 to re-add their keywords to the new ebuild, but it’s no big deal.
The problems here are that I admit I haven’t looked up too deeply to remove the remaining firmwares that are not bound to an useflag already. Another thing I’m considering to do is to make hdsp tools in alsa-tools be compiled only if ALSA_CARDS has hdsp or hdspm enabled.
This should cover to for the “feature removal” that I already applied to that ebuild by removing the (hidden) ALSA_TOOLS trick, that allowed to reduce the number of tools that were built. If somebody can tell me what he thinks that would be nice.
There are still bugs open, especially for the init.d script that should be smarter when saving settings and when unloading modules, and there is still the interaction with udev that has to be cleared up. What I’m thinking of right now is to add a switch to conf.d/alsasound so that the user can choose if handling the coldplug with udev or not, in the case of udev, starting the init script would simply call udev to re-run its coldplug. For the loading and storing of state, I’d just write an external script to handle that, so that udev can also call that when inserting modules; maybe an eselect module (but I would feel in a paradox considering that there’s nothing to select).
I hate ALSA so much, but as I’m alone working on it, I have to spend time thinking about this :/
On the other topic, my battery-powered drill started losing points as the battery (as all the batteries of cheap battery powered drills) started to give up. Well, for something I paid about €14.90 four years ago, it’s not a bad time. Luckily yesterday I found a new drill, virtually identical (same colour, same style, 18V versus 14.4V) with two batteries this time (which is quite good as you can always have one charged and the other charging) at €12.90. This is what I call a «disposable» power tool: when it starts having problem, junk is what it will become, no point in trying to repair it. Luckily I just do some do-it-yourself work now and then, so I don’t have to care that the tools I use are more than decent. I also found a cheap workbench, which is a good change for me, in the past months I always had to do my jobs outside on a tree stub, or on the floor of my home office (remember the photos of the serial gender swap ?)