Linux Journal: On the ALSA Track

“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…”


Get the Free Newsletter!

Subscribe to Developer Insider for top news, trends, & analysis