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    SubjectRe: [alsa-devel] [RFC/PATCH v6 03/12] media: Entities, pads and links
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    > Hi Clemens,
    >
    > On Monday 13 December 2010 17:10:51 Clemens Ladisch wrote:
    >> I wrote:
    >> > I'll see if I can draw up the ALSA-specific media stuff over the
    >> weekend.
    >>
    >> Sorry, wrong weekend.
    >>
    >> Anyway, below are some remarks and a patch.
    >
    > Thank you. Please see my comments inline.
    >
    >> * Entity types
    >>
    >> TYPE_NODE was renamed to TYPE_DEVICE because "node" sounds like a node
    >> in a graph, which does not distinguish it from other entity types
    >> because all entities are part of the topology graph. I chose "device"
    >> as this type describes entities that are visible as some device node to
    >> other software.
    >
    > What this type describes is a device node. Both NODE and DEVICE can be
    > confusing in my opinion, but DEVICE_NODE is a bit long.

    What about DEVNODE? I think that would be a good alternative.

    >> TYPE_EXT describes entities that represent some interface to the
    >> external world, TYPE_INT those that are internal to the entire device.
    >> (I'm not sure if that distinction is very useful, but TYPE_SUBDEV seems
    >> to be an even more meaningless name.)
    >
    > SUBDEV comes from the V4L2 world, and I agree that it might not be a very
    > good
    > name.

    SUBDEV refers to a specific type of driver. Within the v4l world it is
    well defined. So I prefer to keep this. Perhaps some additional comments
    or documentation can be added to clarify this.

    > I'm not sure I would split entities in internal/external categories. I
    > would
    > create a category for connectors though.

    I agree. It was always the plan to eventually add connectors, but v4l
    didn't really need it (it already has an API to enumerate connectors).

    >> ALSA mixer controls are not directly represented; a better fit for the
    >> architecture of actual devices is that one or more mixer controls can be
    >> associated with an entity. (This can be done with a field of the mixer
    >> control.)
    >
    > Agreed.
    >
    >> * Entity properties
    >>
    >> There needs to be a mechanism to associate meta-information (properties)
    >> with entities. This information should be optional and extensible, but,
    >> when being handled inside the kernel, doesn't need to be more than
    >> a read-only blob. I think that something like ALSA's TLV format (used
    >> for mixer controls) can be used here. (I'm not mentioning the X-word
    >> here, except to note that the "M" stands for "markup".)
    >
    > I've been thinking of adding a new ioctl for that. It's something we need
    > to
    > draft. The UVC driver will need it, and I'm pretty sure other V4L2 drivers
    > would find it useful as well.
    >
    >> * Entity subtypes
    >>
    >> EXT_JACK_ANALOG represents any analog audio and/or video connector.
    >> Properties for audio jacks would be jack type (TRS/RCA), color code,
    >> line level, position, etc.
    >>
    >> EXT_JACK_DIGITAL represents a digital connector like S/PDIF (coax/
    >> TOSLINK), ADAT, TDIF, or MADI.
    >>
    >> EXT_JACK_BUS represents a bus like FireWire and comes from the USB audio
    >> spec. (I doubt that any devices with this entitiy will ever exist.)
    >>
    >> EXT_INSTRUMENT represents something like an e-guitar, keyboard, or MIDI
    >> controller. (Instrument entities are typically audio sources and MIDI
    >> sources and sinks, but can also be audio sinks.)
    >>
    >> EXT_SPEAKER also includes headphones; there might be made a case for
    >> having those as a separate subtype.
    >
    > Shouldn't headphones be represented by an EXT_JACK_ANALOG ?
    >
    >> EXT_PLAYER represents a device like a CD/DVD/tape player. Recorders can
    >> also write to that device, so "player" might not be an ideal name.
    >>
    >> EXT_BROADCAST represents devices like TV tuners, satellite receivers,
    >> cable tuners, or radios.

    I don't think it is right to talk about 'represents devices'. I'd rephrase
    it to 'connects to devices'.

    > There's clearly an overlap with V4L here. Hopefully someone from the
    > linux-
    > media list can comment on this.

    I don't think this will be a problem. Initially we probably won't be
    enumerating connectors for V4L since it already has its own API for that.

    >> INT_SYNTHESIZER converts MIDI to audio.
    >>
    >> INT_NOISE_SOURCE comes from the USB audio spec; this is not an attempt
    >> to describe the characteristics of consumer-grade devices :-) , but
    >> represents an internal noise source for level calibration or
    >> measurements.
    >>
    >> INT_CONTROLS may have multiple independent controls (this is USB's
    >> Feature Unit); INT_EFFECT may have multiple controls that affect one
    >> single algorithm.
    >
    > I'd describe this as a feature unit/processing unit then.
    >
    >> INT_CHANNEL_SPLIT/MERGE are needed for HDAudio devices, whose topology
    >> information has only stereo links.
    >
    > Some of those INT entities could also be implemented in dedicated chips,
    > so I
    > really think the EXT/INT split doesn't make too much sense. Should we have
    > an
    > AUDIO category ?
    >
    >> * Entity specifications
    >>
    >> While TYPE_DEVICE entities can be identified by their device node, other
    >> entities typcially have just a numeric ID.
    >
    > In V4L2 sub-devices have (or rather will have once the media controller
    > patches will be integrated) device nodes as well, so exposing that
    > information
    > is required.
    >
    >> For that, it would be useful to make do without separate identification
    >> and
    >> let the driver choose the entity ID.
    >
    > How would drivers do that ? What if you have two instances of the same
    > chip (a
    > video sensor, audio mixer, ...) on the same board ?

    Regards,

    Hans

    --
    Hans Verkuil - video4linux developer - sponsored by Cisco



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