[alsa-devel] ALSA versions versus kernel versions

Takashi Iwai tiwai at suse.de
Mon Jan 28 17:29:11 CET 2013

At Mon, 28 Jan 2013 11:14:59 -0500,
Daniel Griscom wrote:
> 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
> >accident.
> Are there hidden email headers that maintain threads independent of 
> the subject line?

In-reply-to and references headers.

>  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?

Just use the kernel version as the reference.  That's enough.

> >  > - 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
> >modules.
> 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;

That's why I wrote you should forget alsa-driver packages.

> 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.

It's a thing the distro should take care of.  The installed one is a
reference init script.  Forget this.

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

The necessary header files are already included alsa-lib source tree,
and/or included in the kernel tree itself.  You never need to install
them separately nowadays.  Forget this.

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

Basically nothing.  Or, maybe alsa-info.sh.  But this script can be
fetched from the web page as well.

> >  > - 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
> >option.
> 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?

Because it makes your life easier.  It keeps the original modules
intact, thus you can manage the updates more easily.

> >  > <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.

Sure.  But note that the information you've asked are all obsoleted
things.  So, it won't be a big problem even if this information is
lost, unless anyone digging Trojan city again :)


> >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.
> >HTH,
> >
> >Takashi
> It most definitely does. Thank you.
> Dan
> 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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