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Linux Journal: On the ALSA Track

Feb 13, 2004, 13:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dave Phillips)

"On the ALSA Web site, you read that ALSA stands for the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture. Normal users normally don't think about such things as sound architectures, so before I say more about ALSA and why it's advanced, I must present a brief description and history of the Linux sound architecture.

"A sound architecture may provide a variety of audio-related functions, but it must include at least a low-level connection between the soundcard driver and kernel services and a higher-level audio software programming interface to simplify applications development. Until the 2.5.x development track, the Linux kernel utilized an audio API now known as OSS/Free. OSS here stands for Open Sound System, an audio API originally written in 1992 by Hannu Savolainen. Independent developers contributed drivers and other work to the OSS/Free system, but by the late 1990s the OSS API was showing its age. Around that time, a Czech system administrator named Jaroslav Kysela began work on what eventually became the ALSA project. Like Linux itself, ALSA began with rather modest goals: Jaroslav simply wanted more out of his Gravis UltraSound soundcard than the existing API could deliver, and he was willing and able to meet the demands of the task. Like Linus Torvalds, Jaroslav eventually found himself at the center of a group of talented developers, all dedicated to the development of a superior audio API for Linux..."

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