At 2004-05-06T08:42:19Z, Uwe Dippel <email@example.com> writes: > Actually, there are no problems here for the time being. But I'd like to > understand a bit more on this 'Kernel-based' ALSA, esd, OSS, etc. I tried > to google and around here, but what I get are zealots telling me that OSS > is s**t, or esd is just as bad or ALSA, which - of course ! 'sucks'. And > I'd have to use the only good one .... ! No link, but a quick rundown: 1) OSS and ALSA are the kernel sound drivers. You *have* to pick one of these. OSS is the old, deprecated system, and ALSA is the new, much improved system. 2) ESD and ARTS are "sound servers" that accept requests from programs to play a sound, and then pass those sounds to the kernel sound drivers above. The majority of Gnome programs talk to ESD, and most (all?) KDE programs talk to ARTS. Others, like XMMS, can use other one (or none!). The main reason for having the intermediate sound server is that Unix kernel sound drivers have traditionally been single-channel. That is, only one program could write to /dev/dsp at a time, so you couldn't listen to music and still hear other sound events at the same time. ESD and ARTS can accept multiple channels at once, multiplex them, and then dump the unified stream to /dev/dsp. They also add other, less used functions like the ability to send an audio stream via network to a sound server on another machine. For example, you could have a little computer hooked to your home stereo, and could redirect the output of your MP3 player to that computer so you could listen to it via presumably better speakers than you'd have on your PC. ESD is typically criticized because of its supposedly lower sound quality due to bad processing routines. ARTS is typically criticized because of its supposedly higher latency due to more complex processing routines. Both come with "wrapper" programs so that you can redirect the output of a program that would otherwise write directly to /dev/dsp to the corresponding sound server. In a nutshell, you want to use ALSA if you can. The choice of ESD vs. ALSA will mostly depend on which desktop environment, if any, you most often use. Does that about cover it? -- Kirk Strauser In Googlis non est, ergo non est.
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