Fedora-7 rant #3: Sound
andy at warmcat.com
Sat Jun 16 17:00:22 UTC 2007
Timothy Murphy wrote:
> Andy Green wrote:
>>> When I try the CLI command "alsamixer" instead
>>> I get 19 (yes, 19) controls,
>>> none of them properly labelled.
>>> Is there a simple introduction to Fedora sound somewhere?
>> You're ranting about Alsa, not Fedora. All the other modern distros use
>> Alsa too.
> That's no excuse.
Just as well it wasn't offered as an excuse then, just an observation
that specifying "Fedora" when you complain about these issues doesn't
capture the fact that Alsa is now the standard audio system for the
kernel and you find it on any modern distro.
> I'm sure ALSA is technically far better than OSS,
> but the user interface is unbelievably bad.
> How can people put up with this?
Well you said it yourself, it is "technically far better than OSS".
Once channels are selected for a particular box, that is typically the
last you have to do with it except for setting PCM or amp volume to taste.
>> The core trick to recording stuff is to understand that the default pane
>> of controls in Alsamixer and kmix is only to do with playback. If in
> You fill me with hope,
> but not with respect for ALSA.
> If Fedora, or any other distribution, choose to use ALSA
> (without any alternative, as far as I can see)
> then Fedora or whoever is responsible for the ensuing mess.
This is bad logic. The kernel is using the alsa modules to present a
unified way to deal with a range of soundcards. Fedora, being a "Linux
distribution", is shipping more or less the normal Linux kernel.
Tagging this complaint with the word "Fedora" - and "excuse" - just
moves you further away from a true understanding of the situation.
> Why should sound under Fedora be a hundred times more difficult
> than setting up a DVD player, or a mobile phone?
Both your DVD player and mobile phone have a single fixed set of sound
devices specified by the manufacturer and supported by the same entity
(who had access to full documentation about what the chips are doing).
Alsa on the other hand is supporting everything under the sun sometimes
with limited or no information about how the chips work.
> If Fedora is to have the slightest chance of success in the real world
> then it must ensure that simple things like sound and printing
> just work "out of the box".
You do realize that this becomes harder to ensure for each undocumented
soundcard chipset or printer that is added to the pile? On the plus
side, because this is not a specific Fedora issue, it means that
everyone working on it is help the same common sound or printing
infrastructure, benefiting all the distros.
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