[alsa-devel] ALSA versions versus kernel versions

Takashi Iwai tiwai at suse.de
Mon Jan 28 16:28:57 CET 2013

At Fri, 25 Jan 2013 10:10:18 -0500,
Daniel Griscom wrote:
> I never got a response to my query,

... because you're hanging your post to an utterly irrelevant thread?
It's the second time, so I guess the previous time wasn't an

> not even an RTFM (although I'm 
> pretty sure this isn't in the M). So, in case anyone else is 
> wondering, here's what I've since found:
> - The kernel packages do NOT limit themselves to taking an entire 
> released ALSA package. In particular, the 3.6.X series has a number 
> of improvements and changes that aren't in the latest (year old) 
> alsa-driver 1.0.25 package. I'll guess that they're taken directly 
> from the alsa GIT repository, but it's hard to know.

The 1.0.25 *released* tarball is what was released.  It won't change.
The tarball created from the latest GIT is called "snapshot".

And note that the alsa-driver version number has been already
deprecated in the recent kernel.  The confusing number 1.0.25 was
dropped, finally.

In short, forget about alsa-driver released packages.  Stick with the
driver included in your kernel, or use alsa-driver snapshot tarball
(but carefully).

> - The alsa-driver package installs items that are NOT a part of the 
> kernel package. The alsasound startup script and the ALSA headers are 
> the examples I've found so far, but there may be more items.

They are no longer necessary stuff, but kept there since they are
mostly harmless.  You can run "make install-modules" to install only

> - When installed, the alsa-driver package installs its modules into 
> the currently running kernel's directories. So, if you want to have 
> the latest system, you need to install the kernel, reboot into that 
> kernel, install alsa-driver, reinstall the kernel, and reboot again. 
> Ugh.

Hm, did you read INSTALL file?  The installation to an update (or
extra) directory is suggested.  Pass a proper --with-moddir configure

> <rant>
> ALSA's Achilles heel has always been its documentation, whether for 
> developers (the Doxygen-generated documents are at times comically 
> uninformative) or for end-users (e.g. the lack of information such as 
> the above). Please: those of you in the know, spend some time 
> documenting this powerful and confusing system. Yes, you know how to 
> use it, but isn't the goal to have it support the thousands/millions 
> of audio users out there, and not just the dozen or so core ALSA 
> developers?
> </rant>

You seem to overestimate the numbers.  I dream of dozen of core
developers, too.

Speaking of implicit feedback: it's been since 3.5, but lots of bug
fixes are found in 3.7.  So better to use 3.7, I guess.



> Thanks,
> Dan
> At 4:12 PM -0500 1/17/13, Daniel Griscom wrote:
> >We're working to build a consistent Linux audio environment for our 
> >embedded audio product,with known versions of both ALSA and the 
> >kernel (we're specifically considering kernel 3.6.6). We are not 
> >clear, however, exactly what version of the ALSA kernel-space tools 
> >are included with the kernel, nor are we clear on exactly what each 
> >ALSA package is used for.
> >
> >In order to simplify any responses, I'll give my best guess as to 
> >what's included in the kernel and each ALSA package: let me know 
> >where I went wrong.
> >
> >
> >So, am I right that...
> >
> >- Kernel 3.6.6 includes exactly alsa-driver-1.0.25 (I'm actually 
> >guessing not, but let me know.)
> >
> >- alsa-driver-1.0.25 is all included in the kernel release, and can be ignored
> >
> >- alsa-lib is the user-space library that we complile our tools 
> >against, and that communicates with ALSA in the kernel through the 
> >device and /proc tree (required)
> >
> >- alsa-utils are various generic ALSA command line tools, such as 
> >amixer, aplay, alsaconf, etc (required)
> >
> >- alsa-tools are various more obscure tools and loaders (probably 
> >not required)
> >
> >- alsa-firmware are binary drivers for various third-party products 
> >(probably not required)
> >
> >- alsa-plugins are plugins for various ALSA needs (e.g. Jack) 
> >(probably not required)
> >
> >- alsa-oss is the OSS compatibilty layer (not required)
> >
> >- pyalsa is the Python bindings for ALSA (not required)
> >
> >
> >And, some final questions:
> >
> >- What version of ALSA and the kernel are needed to fully support 
> >implicit feedback?
> >
> >- Given our audio focus, what version kernel would you recommend?
> >
> >
> >Thanks,
> >Dan
> -- 
> Daniel T. Griscom             griscom at suitable.com
> Suitable Systems              http://www.suitable.com/
> 1 Centre Street, Suite 204    (781) 665-0053
> Wakefield, MA  01880-2400
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