[alsa-devel] ALSA versions versus kernel versions

Daniel Griscom griscom at suitable.com
Mon Jan 28 16:50:04 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

How so? Is there a hidden email field that tracks threads independent 
of the thread titles? If so, my apologies: my (antique) email client 
must be doing things behind my back.

>  > 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.

Ah. Is there somewhere I could find out information such as this?

>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

Is the installed /etc/init.d/alsasound not needed? It seems to do a 
number of tasks when starting and stopping.

How do I install the ALSA headers without installing the rest of the 
(obsolete) contents? "make install-headers" inside alsa-driver-1.0.25?

And, does alsa-driver install anything else outside of the kernel modules?

>  > - 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
>>  _______________________________________________
>>  Alsa-devel mailing list
>>  Alsa-devel at alsa-project.org
>>  http://mailman.alsa-project.org/mailman/listinfo/alsa-devel

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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