[PlanetCCRMA] PulseAudio, ALSA and Jack -- Where's The Forest? I Only See Trees.

Sean Beeson seanbeeson at gmail.com
Mon Mar 16 07:51:07 PDT 2009

I wonder if anyone guessed what this post is about. :-) I didn't get through
Discrete Mathematics not being the one to raise my hand to ask the stupid
questions no one else would ask, but were dying to know.

All I can find as far as user docs for ALSA and Jack is documentation on
programming with their APIs. I really can't find much on qjackctl either as
far as writing bash scripts to get programs to connect to Jack. I can't find
any man pages for any of them either. I of course get the few command line
switches one can get with --help, but there seems to be more to, say, Jack.
Zynaddsubfx tries to connect to Jack, but fails half way and, although it
shows up in Jack, it never makes the connection to Jack's system playback
ports and I have to manually connect them each time. Is there documentation
on how I can connect these with a bash command? I see that Hydrogen and
Audour query ALSA for information. Am I only left with the API docs to
figure them out and how else I can utilize them? Is everyone figuring out
how to tweak and fine tune Jack by trial and error? I have SELinux turned
off and killed any daemons, like Iptable that start up by Fedora default.
Where do I go next? I am basically using Planet CCRMA defaults, knowing I
know nothing about xruns other than you don't want them. I picked off some
scripts from the Musix Live CD that I am just now digesting, but my Spanish
is really poor and I am missing some of the points in the comments. :-)
Basically, could anyone give me some direction on resources on understanding
ALSA and Jack and their relationship with each other and how other programs
know how to connect to them? Rosegarden gets most of them, but misses a few
at times also.

And, I think I am not alone on this, now that PulseAudio has been introduced
I am really confused on how it will effect ALSA. Just when ALSA became a
standard people are now claiming PulseAudio is the way forward. Basically,
where do I go to understand what, how or If they will have an impact on
audio on Linux? Usually, I can go to my Safaribookonline account and find
the exact thing I need with security over ssh or how to test and deal with
performance with Postgres or Apache in an O'reilly book, but for ALSA or
Jack, and now PulseAudio, there just doesn't seem to be anything. Where is
the ALSA/Jack/PulseAudio forest? I see some trees because I have some menus
to go to and a few programs with some command line switches to type. How do
I find out about the future of it, if I do find it?

I know this is sort of a jumble of questions. If you can give me specific
advice on getting better performance that would be great (I should post
something that is a little more specific to my set-up I guess for that), but
some pointers on resources to really understand how all of this works is
really what I am getting at here.

My set-up with the fc10 64-bit Planet CCRMA at Home is basically working
really well and the USB M-Audio FTPro i am using sounds so sweet, but I am
ready to go to the next step of my understanding of the technical side of
things other than making some music. :-o


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