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Gentoo/PulseAudio Summer 2009 Plans

Against to avoid the problem of bus factor, I’m going to write down here what the plans are, for what concerns me, with PulseAudio and Gentoo for this end of Summer 2009, mostly related to what will happen when I’ll come back from my vacations in London, after mid August.

This actually is also out of candrews asking for it as I haven’t really thought about writing this before that.

So the first thing to say is that I am following PulseAudio pretty well; or rather I’m following Lennart pretty well (he’s also the one that suggested me to rewrite udev’s build system to use non-recursive automake — something I’ll write more about another day), so I’m not sleeping waiting.

Indeed, the 0.9.16 test releases are available in Gentoo already, although masked, and since recently they both support udev hotplug (preferring it over HAL), and also pass all the checks already. A note on the tests is needed though: the mix-test lacks a few entries, in particular regarding 24-in-32-bit samples, and is for this reason disabled in the current ebuild (Lennart should be working on it); at the same time, the ebuild is running test specifically in the source directory, because the intltool checks fail; badly. In theory the problem should be fixed in 0.41 series of intltool, but I am unsure whether that should be packaged or not by us.

In the next release, whether it’ll be another test release or the final release, there will also be a few differences in the handling of audio APIs. The OSS support will be restricted, masking the USE flag on Linux (leaving it enabled for FreeBSD obviously); this means that users wanting to use stuff like OSS4, which is not in Portage and if it’s for me will never be, will have to go a slightly longer way to get it to work with PulseAudio. The reason for this is that Lennart really don’t want to support that, and I can agree with him. Now, if you know the package well, you’ll probably be wondering “what about the OSS-compatibility wrapper?” this is solved already: in GIT the OSS output and wrapper supports are split in two different options, the former will be tied to the oss USE flag, the latter will be left in “auto-mode”, which will create the padsp rapper on all Gentoo Linux and FreeBSD systems. And this should fix your problem Luca!

As for some of the new features, like for instance Rygel UPnP support, well, I’ll probably be working on the sometime in the future; I do want to get Rygel in portage, especially if that will allow me to look at my vacation’s photos directly on my Sony Bravia networked TV.

Comments 15
  1. PulseAudio, PulseAudio, PulseAudio. I still have trouble understanding your insistence on working on this software. It’s like, totally useless. Why on earth would anyone need this? For what?

  2. “this means that users wanting to use stuff like OSS4, which is not in Portage and if it’s for me will never be”I rather liked you until I saw this comment. Now I’m rather sorry that devs like you are part of Gentoo.

  3. @RealNCa) Pulseaudio is tremendously useful for, amongst other things, its networking features. Yes, pulseaudio, pulseaudio, pulseaudio, indeed!b) We are very much looking forward to your OSS4 ebuilds and it would be nice indeed if you would relentlessly provide OSS4-patches to use in the pulseaudio ebuilds, even though upstream will not support it.c) It is indeed unheard of for a software developer to have an opinion on software. And it’s a very bad thing that these devs express those opinions on their private blogs. Blasphemy! Anything could happen now. It might even lead to the posting of more opinions on software! I wouldn’t be surprised if someone would start commenting on a piece of software like, say, PulseAudio. I’m sure you would never do that, because I rather like you for your comment.

  4. OSS4 ebuilds exists. There’s a Gentoo overlay for them.Streamed audio was here before Pulse. And it’s quite a niche thingy anyway.So what problem exactly does Pulse solve that wasn’t solved before in more than one implementation? None. All it did was create another mess in Linux audio, resulting in hate against it. It’s already a mess, we don’t need more (this time non-working) mess.

  5. Thanks for the post – I really appreciate it!As for some of the other commenters, I apologize on their behalf. There are so many more “productive” places to flame about PulseAudio, and yet, unfortunately, people flame here. May I remind my fellow commenters of three of their many choices regarding Pulse?1) Don’t use it. USE=”-pulseaudio” emerge -uDN world. Move on with your lives.2) Use another distro.3) Contribute to Gentoo, providing ebuilds and testing for software you do want or the way you want it… you do can become a developer, just like Diego – until then, stop flaming the people who do the work.Anyways…I noticed that you didn’t mention RealtimeKit, which (I’m pretty sure) is in Fedora, and I believe will be standard fare for PulseAudio in the future. What are Gentoo’s plans regarding RealtimeKit?Thanks again for providing another great and informative post!

  6. I think this is a good point to once again whineabout the non-existence of of a comprehensivesummary of what exactly is wrong with OSS4,according to kernel devs.Sure, there are bits here and there – using floatsin kernel, doing stuff in kernel, that should be inuser space – but most of the discussion seems tobe about personal conflicts between those two teams.I’m on neither of the sides, I’d be more interestedin why some of the drivers work better in one modelthan in the other, than about the “right” way(till you know what the real problem is, it’s really hard to solve).Same thing with pulseaudio. I don’t really mind it,frankly, I think a centralized, non-desktop environmentspecific sound control service (something cups alike) wouldbe quite useful. Though it could be tied bit less to Gnome and while lennart probably does know it best (as the main author), coming up with a new *Kit to solve the timing problemseems a bit too much (though perhaps it willbecome useful for other programs eventually,hard to tell now).Much is happening in the last months and there’sstill KMS stuff coming for non-Intel in 2.6.31(though it’s still inferior performance wise, IIRC).

  7. For what concerns RealtimeKit (that is supposed to be used by jack as well), we don’t have a kernel compatible with it, so it makes no sense to add it yet. Once we’ll have something workable, I’ll be adding that.

  8. I too fail to see the point of PulseAudio.— Jack already provides ability to pipe sound through the network (though I agree with RealNC that it’s a very niche thing). Jack works *now* and has had a few years of testing already from the pro-audio world;— ALSA has been doing transparent software mixing via dmix for years now (which was the major selling point of esd/aRts);— Via the right configuration, ALSA alone can handle most of what PulseAudio “brings to the scene” (resampling, piping to different soundcards, filtering through LADSPA…) and I guess what’s _really_ missing is a set of tools to harness the ALSA configuration, not yet another high-latency proxy.Then again, I know I can USE “-portaudio”; I’m just curious to know why PulseAudio gets all that attention.I find more and more of this kind of posts (fix for all pulseaudio related issues) on the web; I guess it means something’s not right if people feel esound works better than PulseAudio…

  9. s/portaudio/pulseaudio/ in the previous post; sorry, got my USE flags mixed up again.

  10. “ALSA has been doing transparent software mixing via dmix for years now”Yeah, and they may now even have fixed it to CLOEXEC their device fds, so that if a sound-using program forks and exec()s something the new program doesn’t hold the device open and break audio playback system-wide(!). dmix does work, but I try not to think too much about how – apparently it’s really clever and hairy.

  11. Last night you helped me setup pulse audio and I am already upgrading to the latest version.Thanks a lot fot all your effort and I also hope to see rygel in portage.”Hay mom , want to see how I can move the sound from this pc , to the stereo down-stairs ?I already bought a upnp receiver for the stereo, a didnt have much use for it , as most of my music is kept in flac format, and the receiver plays a friend borrowed it, I may need it back now :-))

  12. ‘which will create the padsp rapper on all Gentoo Linux and FreeBSD systems.’don’t you mean padsp wrapper instead of rapper? i did not know there was a rapper named padsp? 😛

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