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Re: FESCo Meeting Summary for 20090424

On Sun, 26.04.09 09:38, David Woodhouse (dwmw2 infradead org) wrote:

> > > > This thing has certainly spun far out of my control, and no longer even
> > > > has much to do with what I wanted in the first place.
> > > 
> > > Unfortunately it wasn't just your needs we were trying to address in the
> > > meeting.
> People will always need access to mixer controls. One set of people will
> need them because they want to do things that the PulseAudio folks call
> "weird", like using that line-in socket on the side of their laptop, or
> playing CDs without chewing CPU time doing all those strange unreliable
> heuristics we do to knit audio back together when we rip it off a CD. Or
> turning their speakers on or off. Or setting the relative levels of bass
> and mid-range speakers. Or any number of other things.

Come one. You are misleading people. And you know that. 

You say I would call it weird if you wanted to use the line-in
socket. I never said that. Recording from line-in is perfectly valid
and not weird. What I did say however is that using the input feedback
functionality of your sound card as a way to connect two machines to a
single set of speakers is an exotic usage I don't see the need for to
expose in the UI.

And you claim that I'd consider it weird that folks want to "play CDs
without chewing CPU time doing all those strange unreliable heuristics
we do to knit audio back together when we rip it off a CD". This is
misleading too: *none* of the applications which can do CD playback we
install by default even supports the 'analog path' which you are
apparently referring to. And looking further even the ones which are
not installed by default mostly don't do that anymore. I checked
Nautilus, Rhythmbox, Banshee, Sound Juicer. In addition, ripping CDs
for immediate playback is not as problematic anymore as you claim. It
was in the early nineties. But that's over. Also, most modern sound
cards don't even have the CD slider anymore, or even an input to
connect a cable from the CD drive. And modern CD drives don't have
that output for that cable either. Also, if you'd go the 'analog path'
you lose the ability to play from USB cds, to USB speakers, to BT
headphones, to spdif. You lose the ability to have more than one CD to
play from. And so on and so on. CD playing via the 'analog path' is
OBSOLETE! And it would be a PITA to expose in the UI -- about 0.0001%
of the population would even notce the difference and would be able to
tell the system which path to take. 

Next thing you claim is that I say it was weird wanting to turn your
speakers on/off. I never said that. What I did say is that it is an
exotic usage to have simultaneous playback of the same stream on your
laptop speakers and on you headphones. Also, your hardware has an
autmatic logic to switch over playback to your headset when you plug
them in. What you asked me for is to expose the ability to override
that logic. That is just exotic. And that's it. Plain
exotic. Switching your speakers on/off is done via the mute checkbox
and that is perfectly well supported. 

All three issues you keep repeating here are really really exotic
uses. And you ask us to support them by default. And I closed your
requests as FIXME due to their exoticness, referring you to low-level
mixers which exist plentiful in Fedora. And that's the absolutely
right thing to do.

And let me emphasize the following:

 _The fact that you try to mislead people the way you do, shows that you
 don't even believe yourself that the points you raise are valid enough
 to convince people._

> Other people need it just to get optimal use out of their hardware in
> the "non-weird" cases. Although we're building up a hardware database
> which tells us which of those sliders in the alsa-mixer-of-doom actually
> do useful things, it can never be completely accurate and up to date.
> People will _always_ be able to do better by experimenting for
> themselves.

Some people will. And they can install a low-level ALSA mixer and go
for it. There is not need to install that by default, clutter the UI
with it.

When will you ever get it: I AM NOT LIMITING IN ANY WAY HOW YOU MAY
NEED TO BE EXPOSED BY DEFAULT. Is that so hard to understand?

I am not taking your freedom away!

> For example, if I want to get the best audible volume out of my laptop,
> I may need to tweak the various mixer levels _just_ low enough to avoid
> clipping, and the levels required depend on a lot of things -- including
> the analogue circuitry in _this_ particular machine, and the ears of the
> people present in the room. That information isn't going to be in the
> database.

Actually, ALSA can be very helpful with that since on most hw they
expose dB values which you can be used to set to 0dB for the inner
volume controls.

Thing is that you are asking to have the old g-v-c back WHICH DOESN'T

What we suggest instead is that the ALSA database sets those sliders
to 0dB by default -- which it does fine for the majority of hardware.

If you'd really care about the quality of your audio you'd allow ALSA
to adjust the levels to 0dB fo you instead of twiddling with those
values yourself.

> We have to accept that there are _always_ going to be cases where users
> want better control over the mixer.

Yes, there are always cases where things don't work that well by
default. To fix those cases we have bug trackers or tools to track down
those issues which can be installed on-demand. 

>   (Obviously not just by adding more sliders; it needs to be possible
>   for users to enable what they _need_ without just showing them the
>   alsa-mixer-of-doom by default. I'm not really qualified to give a
>   detailed suggestion on _how_ it's done -- that's a UI decision which I
>   wish the UI experts would address. I wish they _wouldn't_ try to
>   address it by simply declaring these uses out of Fedora's scope.
>   That's a policy decision which I think it's properly within FESCo's
>   mandate to decide.)

Ah, thanks. You give us the liberty to do whatever we want as long as
it is exactly what you want. Thanks for that freedom!

> It's even more suboptimal that this app is hidden in the menus and not
> accessible from the panel. As far as the F-10 user is concerned, this
> functionality is just _gone_ from the place it used to be; I'm not sure
> they'll think to go looking around in the application menus to find it
> again.


Dude, this is getting more ridiculous with every word you say.

Now you asking that there is a quick-access applet that exposes three
completely exotic things?

a) the ability to connect two machines to a single set of speakers

b) the ability to control the analog path for audio cd playback where
   we don't even have a program that could initiate that cd playback
   for you

c) the ability to have the same stream on your headphones and your
   internal laptop speakers.

You must be kidding me!

> To be honest, I think the best option at this stage would really have
> been to revert the VolumeControl feature for F-11, and to say "come back
> and try again in F-12, and please do a better job next time". But I
> definitely don't think we have FESCo consensus on _that_, so I didn't
> push it very hard.

Yes, and I think the best option at this stage would be to finally
agree that the points you raise are bogus. And that FESCO would revert
the decision pushed through by you.


Lennart Poettering                        Red Hat, Inc.
lennart [at] poettering [dot] net         ICQ# 11060553
http://0pointer.net/lennart/           GnuPG 0x1A015CC4

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