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Re: [Gnewsense-dev] OSSv4 default sound on parkes?

From: Steven McDonald
Subject: Re: [Gnewsense-dev] OSSv4 default sound on parkes?
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 2010 23:09:36 +1000

On Sun, 15 Aug 2010 13:43:51 +0930
Karl Goetz <address@hidden> wrote:

> How much work will it be for us? It sounds like a non trivial change.

To be honest, it all depends on whether applications like Firefox and
family want to play nice with OSS. Best case scenario, the kernel
modules are easily merged into the Linux-libre sources, we find a
user-friendly sound widget that suppots OSS, and all application
software just works with little to no modifications. Worst case
scenario, the kernel modules don't fit into the kernel sources easily
and need to be built as a separate package, we need to create a brand
new mixer from scratch, and Firefox simply refuses to work without
major changes (in this case, I think it's definitely an idea to drop).

> > * It is not included in the Linux source. At present, using it
> > requires building it as a kernel module separately.
> bit disadvantage, especially if its not going to be shipped by debian
> with squeeze.

Debian ships the kernel modules in source code form, to be built by
DKMS. I haven't yet got DKMS to actually build them successfully on my
machine, and in any case this would be inconvenient if it were the
default. I started to merge the OSSv4 drivers into Linux-libre in place
of the deprecated OSSv3 today, and so far at least this part looks
promising; I've written the relevant kernel configuration file and
Makefile, and I expect to get it to build successfully within a week
at most.

> > * The binary distribution of OSSv4 includes some non-free drivers.
> >   While these are not present in the GPL'd source distribution, use of
> >   OSS may be misconstrued by users as supporting a project which
> >   distributes non-free software.
> This doesn't stop us with other projects - linux being the obvious
> example.

I know, but it's still something to consider.

> > * I do not know of any user-friendly mixer widget that supports OSS.
> >   The OSSv4 source distribution itself comes with a program called
> >   ossxmix, which is exceptionally ugly and features unintuitive
> >   controls.
> Big negative.

Once I've finished merging the OSSv4 modules into the kernel, I'll look
into this issue. With any luck, one already exists, but if not I'll
look to either modify ossxmix to make it more user friendly, or modify
a user friendly ALSA widget to make it support OSS. After that point,
the only thing standing in our way would be any application software
that doesn't work with OSS.

> > Given these advantages and disadvantages, I propose the following
> > solution to including OSSv4 as the default sound backend in gNewSense
> > 3.0 "parkes" (with ALSA available at the user's option, of course),
> > which I am willing to hack on with the development community's
> > go-ahead:
> At this stage you don't have my support - this sounds like a lot of
> extra work to carry, for no direct benefit.
> kk

I'll post again to the list when I have finished merging OSSv4
drivers into Linux-libre and creating an OSSv4 mixer widget. At the
very least, these would be useful things to submit upstream (although I
don't know if Linus is interested in OSSv4). At such point, I will
provide an assessment of how well application software interacts with

Steven McDonald

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