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Re: [Portaudio] Re: portaudio in Debian, license updates?


Thanks so much for your comments. I will say more below about our code, but I think you are right to critisize our process. Personally, I'd like to see us using a bug tracking system and a better source code management and patch management system. I don't have enough expereience in this area, (I am a math and audio geek not an open source software developement geek), but I do believe Sourceforge can offer many of the tools we need to improve our process.... but that is for another thread.

More comments below....

On Sun, 19 Feb 2006, Markus Meyer wrote:

Ross Bencina schrieb:

There are numerous active commercial applications which depend on
PortAudio.. it is far from dead and gone. Quite naturally I believe it
to be a technically superior solution to RtAudio, primarily because
(last time I checked) RtAudio does not attempt to solve many of the
technical problems which PortAudio does.

I agree that PortAudio has many functions and design elements that are
not (yet) in RtAudio. The desire by the Audacity development team to
look at other APIs is because of the following factors. Note that I can
only speak for myself here, though I think that other members of the
team may share some of the thoughts outlined below:

* While I agree that there may be constant development on PortAudio v19
CVS, I cannot see that there is a definitive plan to release a new
stable version or even incremental releases to v18. It is very
frustrating having to use a library in a stable product that has been in
beta state literally for years. I'm not saying, you should release a
stable v19 tomorrow. But at least making incremental releases with a
clear management of bug reports and clear priority assignment on those
reports would help the process. This would also assist in release
planning for applications depending on Portaudio.

I agree. The fact that v18 is dead and v19 is still percieved as beta is a serious problem. I am not sure of the solution, but maybe some numbered releases that carefully state their limitations would be a good start. Bugzilla and wikki with up-to-date information would be great, too, but, again, another thread....

* Portaudio v18 is way to outdated. For example, it does not support
ALSA on Linux, and it does not have the same latency management
Portaudio v19 has. Therefore we must move away from it. I assume the
"commercial applications" you're talking about use Portaudio v18.

The commercial apps are probably not Linux-based. My app on the mac is XO Wave (www.xowave.com), and there are a bunch for PC. I think PortAudio's acceptance into Debian would improve its support almost immediately, as debain is the root of other distros. If there is something I can do to get PA in debian, please let me know. (We certainly discussed the licensing issue to death and I thought everyone agreed that "the send us improvements" bit was a recomendation not a requirement.)

* Portaudio v19, on the other hand, is simply not usable on some
platforms. E.g., I am a maintainer of the German Audacity forum
(http://audacity.fuchsi.de/) and I regularly receive reports that
Portaudio v19 does not work correctly. Speaking for myself here, I have
two machines here with ALSA (Ubuntu 5.10), and all ALSA apps I've tested
so far work, except Audacity, when compiled with Portaudio v19.
Sometimes playing works, but after some seconds, the application just
hangs. Another field of problems is on the Mac. It seems that there are
lots of Mac users who are having problems with Portaudio (v18 and v19).
We're not talking about multichannel soundcards here, but about USB
mics, simple USB sound adapters etc., stuff that really should work. I
understand that you didn't write the Mac port for Portaudio, but still
switching to RtAudio might be of help here :)

The v19 code for the mac has gone through some hard times. However, I recently rewrote it and I personally tested it on a variety of hardware from built-in to USB mikes and headsets to pro hardware. It has also been tested on multichannel devices, intel macs and more. The reviews so far have been very positive. I am actively maintaining and improving it and I don't think you should have trouble with it anymore. There are no outstanding issues or bugs that I am aware of, although some things are not implemented, but these are well documented. If you do find trouble, and forward to me or to the list any error reports, I will fix it fast.

* There are a number of patches which were submitted to PortAudio by us,
which have not been incorporated into PortAudio. This is one of the
reasons why we maintain a locally patched version of PortAudio. It would
be good to have a formal patch management, like the one that is
available on Sourceforge, so we would know which patches are accepeted
and which ones are rejected and for which reason.

This doesn't address the long term issues, because I cannot commit to supporting Linux, but I have two Debian systems and I'd be happy to take a look at the diffs, and commit changes that I understand and can test. Especially as I am anticipating a slight lull this week.

As I see it, the goals of the projects Portaudio and Audacity just seem
to differ. While development of Portaudio seems to incorporate a "it
will be ready when it is done" approach (which I think is perfectly okay
for an open source project!), Audacity needs something that works _now_,
and on all platforms. This is why we're looking at alternatives.

I think v19 /is/ almost done on windows ASIO and Core Audio, and I really don't think a lot needs to be done on Linux. The OSS stuff works fine on Linux from what I understand, and I thought Jack was in good shape too. My app runs on Linux and definately has trouble with PA/ALSA, so I'd like to work on that as well, though, to be honest, I am a bit baffled by ALSA. If PA gets into Debian, I really think that will help, as more people would hear about it, see it, use it, and, presumably, tell the developers what isn't working.


Bjorn Roche
Check out my CD Mastering Software
for Mac OS X : http://www.xowave.com

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