[alsa-devel] ALSA versions versus kernel versions

Daniel Griscom griscom at suitable.com
Mon Jan 28 17:14:59 CET 2013

At 4:28 PM +0100 1/28/13, Takashi Iwai wrote:
>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

Are there hidden email headers that maintain threads independent of 
the subject line? If so then my apologies: my (antique) email client 
has been hiding them from me.

>  > 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).

Well, that's good to know. How do you refer to ALSA release versions 
now? Just by the kernel version that the various file versions are 
included into?

>  > - 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

But, I don't want to just install the alsa-driver-1.0.25 modules if 
more recent ones are included in the kernel distributions; I only 
need whatever's in alsa-driver that is NOT in the kernel 
distributions, for example:

- Is /etc/init.d/alsasound not needed? It seems to do a number of 
things on startup/shutdown.

- How can I independently install the ALSA headers: "make 
headers-install" inside alsa-driver-1.0.25?

And, are there any other components that alsa-driver installs that 
are NOT included in the kernel distributions?

>  > - 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

I missed that: thanks.

Reading the INSTALL doc on that option, it mentions using a relative 
path to put the installed modules in a subdirectory so as to preserve 
the existing versions: why would I want to do that?

>  > <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.

I hear you. But, that makes it even more important that the 
documentation be as complete as possible, so that a) you few 
developers don't get pestered by we not-yet-in-the-know users, and b) 
the knowledge you each have built up over the years isn't lost when 
one of you moves on to other projects.

>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.

That's good information.


It most definitely does. Thank you.


P.S. And, I'll make sure to start a new thread next time.

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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