Fedora-7 rant #3: Sound

Alan Cox alan at lxorguk.ukuu.org.uk
Sat Jun 16 16:59:19 UTC 2007

> > You're ranting about Alsa, not Fedora.  All the other modern distros use
> > Alsa too.
> That's no excuse.
> I'm sure ALSA is technically far better than OSS,
> but the user interface is unbelievably bad.
> How can people put up with this?

Alsa doesnt have a user interface. Alsa is a programming library, kernel
interface and kernel drivers.

The standard alsa-mixer tool shows every detail that is configurable on a
sound mixer. Thats really rather horrible as a default but it's not an
ALSA problem so much as a poor user tools problem (send new tools)

Most users don't see it as they just use the volume and similar controls
on tools like xine.

> Why should sound under Fedora be a hundred times more difficult
> than setting up a DVD player, or a mobile phone?

Because the PC mixer has 30-40 settings.

A DVD player is IMHO harder to set up than ALSA if you do it
properly. Instead however it usually exposes only "consumer" settings
that are horribly simplified and mean you can't set up stuff like
surround sound correctly without digging into various half-hidden expert
menus so you can set the delays and stuff.

> If Fedora is to have the slightest chance of success in the real world
> then it must ensure that simple things like sound and printing
> just work "out of the box".

Agreed - but if you think that is an ALSA problem I think you are
confused. A tool which sets most values to a sane default and hides them
from the user would be pretty much parity with how the DVD player works.


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