Posted on Mi 07 Oktober 2009

LPC Audio BoF Notes

Here are some very short notes from the Audio BoF at the Linux Plumbers Conference in Portland two weeks ago. Sorry for the delay!

Biggest issue discussed was audio routing. On embedded devices this gets more complex each day, and there are a lot of open questions on the desktop, too. Different DSP scenarios; how do mixer controls match up with PCM streams and jack sensing? How do we determine which volume control sliders that are in the pipeline we are currently interested in? How does that relate to policy decisions? Format to store audio routing in?

The ALSA scenario subsystem currently being worked on by Liam Girdwood and the folks at SlimLogic and currently on its way to being integrated into ALSA proper hopefully helps us, so that we can strip a lot of complexity related to the routing logic from PulseAudio and move it into a lower level which naturally knows more about the hardware's internal routing.

Does it make sense for some apps to bypass the ALSA userspace layer and to talk to the kernel drivers via ioctl()s directly?i (i.e. thus not depending on ALSA's LISP intepreter, and a lot of other complexities)? Probably yes, but certainly not in the short term future. Salsa? libsydney?

Should the timing deviation estimation/interpolation be moved from PulseAudio into the kernel? Might be a good idea. Particularly interesting when we try to to monitor not only the system and audio clocks, but the video output and particularly the video input (i.e. video4linux) clocks, too. A unified kernel-based timing system has advantages in accuracy, allows better handling of (pseudo-) atomic timing snapshots, and would centralize timing handling not only between different applications (PA and JACK) but also between different subsystems. Problem: current timing stuff in PulseAudio might be a bit too homegrown for moving it 1:1 into the kernel. Also, depends on FP. Needs someone to push this. Apple does the clock handling in the kernel. How does this relate to ALSA's timer API?

Seems Ubuntu is going to kill OSS pretty soon too, following Fedora's lead. Yay!

And that's all I have. Should be the biggest points raised. Ping me if I forgot something.

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