[alsa-devel] User space drivers

Rene Herman rene.herman at gmail.com
Fri Aug 3 01:25:08 CEST 2007

On 08/02/2007 11:39 PM, Wallace, Brooke wrote:

> I've been trying to sort thru the ALSA docs and am starting to get the 
> impression that all of the existing drivers are written as Kernel 
> Modules.

Yes. Some stuff like mixing happens in userspace but the lowlevel drivers 
are in kernel space.

> Doesn't this mean that they are running in Kernel space and infact are
> not User Space drivers?


> Shouldn't there be an ALSA Drivers API document that covers an API that
> User Space Drivers can use? I must be mssing something here...

I believe you are. Who told you that ALSA drivers ran in userspace?

> I'm looking into ALSA because my company wants to use this standard for 
> writing User Space drivers for our product running on various linux 
> kernels. The reasoning for this is strictly proprietary licensing - our 
> leagl department is not comfortable with the GPL and the possiblitiy that
> something written for Kernel space could at some time be considered as
> required to be GPL - not my decision...

You have a sensible legal department. Many hold that distributing Linux 
kernelspace code under a non GPL compatible license is illegal, period.

Your job, should you chose to accept it, is convince them that releasing the 
code you will be writing under a GPL compatible license is not actually all 
that scary. Pointing them to all the other companies that do so can help.

The other option you have is make do without _any_ help from _anyone_ on 
this list at least. Good luck.


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