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SubjectRe: software mixing in alsa
On Tue, May 17, 2005 at 04:36:30PM -0400, Lee Revell wrote:


> alsa-lib, which is part of userspace. From the application's point of
> view, it does not matter whether the mixing happens in kernel or not.
> ALSA follows the philosophy of doing as little as possible in the
> kernel, and since mixing and volume control work fine in userspace,
> that's where they live.

Mixing is IMHO action that should be in kernel because

1) needs realtime scheduling to keep latency down
2) needs tight cooperation with the hardware to prevent dropouts
on underruns
3) Is a trivial linear algorithm involving memory blocks and linear
arithmetic, no complicated computations that are difficult to
check for BugFree(TM) so shouldn't present a great risk on kernel
4) Fits into the kernel philosophy. Kernel is a program meant to provide
time-sharing access to limited hardware resource. Sound card is a
limited hardware resource.
5) From the knowledge of the exact hardware, the mixing routine in
kernel can know maximum allowable levels etc. to prevent clipping.

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