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    SubjectRe: Multiple applications using sound drivers?
    On Sun, 28 Feb 1999, Nathan Hand wrote:

    > On Sat, 27 Feb 1999, Joe Votour wrote:
    > > Having used UNIX for a few years here in university, I am fully aware of
    > > devices being locked while they are in use. My distributed networks class has
    > > taught me the importance of that (we tend to do a lot of programming
    > > assignments dealing with file locking and IPC messaging).
    > >
    > > However, there is a feature that I wish Linux had that Windows (shudder) offers
    > > - multiple programs accessing the sound card at once.
    > Windows does not have this feature. The Windows sound driver can be
    > held by a single process, just like the Linux sound driver.
    > The difference is for Windows you write to the MCI API (or whatever
    > it's called this week) and it transparently mixes other streams for
    > you, before delivering it to the sound driver.
    > On Linux we have something similar. It's called the ESD, and if the
    > sound application community stopped using /dev/dsp directly, and in
    > the interests of users started using ESD, we'd all win.
    > ESD even includes a wrapper script that fakes /dev/dsp for all your
    > old legacy applications. You can get the functionality you want now
    > with no major effort on your part.
    > ESD has other potential benefits, including removing bloat like the
    > softoss wavetable driver and putting it in user space where it more
    > rightly belongs. ESD can also transfer sound streams over the net.
    > Despite this gushing about ESD, it does have flaws, but Linux would
    > be better off fixing ESD and using it rather than changing the UNIX
    > open() semantics just to make badly behaved sound apps work.
    > Take note that the exact same problem exists for a number of rather
    > important subsystems, including libggi vs X, and gpm vs X, and sane
    > vs sg. Some userland peace treaties would solve a lot of problems.

    Now... after all these shameless plugs about ESD one question remains:
    Where to get more info about it? ;)
    ... and while you're at it how does it interface with ALSA etc? ;)

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