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

David Ford dford at ansur.demon.co.uk
Mon Mar 16 08:08:15 PDT 2009

Hi Sean - please keep the questions going .
(from one of those who sit there wishing someone would ask.)

Sean Beeson wrote:
> 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
> Thanks,
> --Sean
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