Do you prefer ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS)?

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Do you prefer, ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS)?

ALSA
73
66%
PulseAudio
28
25%
Open sound System (OSS)
9
8%
 
Total votes : 110

Re: Do you prefer ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS

Postby Ibidem » 2011-10-02 22:02

OSS4 (with vmix0 enabled) has nearly everything you're likely to use from ALSA + PulseAudio.
It doesn't include a network sound server (like pa does), but that's a security advantage :P (pulse has at least one security vulverability in its history, and we shall see if there are more). It does have per-application volume control and a virtual mixer, which leaves only network sound as a reason for using pulse. Unlike pulse, it has a history of better audio quality.

The Squeeze packages won't work with new kernels, but upstream includes at least two build targets to make debs.
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Re: Do you prefer ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS

Postby emarsk » 2011-10-16 10:28

ALSA.
I tried OSS4 recently (latest debs from their site) and this is what I found:
  • it removed all the alsa drivers without even asking, so I had to reinstall the kernel (not a big deal but still annoying)
  • I didn't manage to make JACK work with OSS4 (this is a show-stopper for me)
  • at full volume, the OSS4 output was quieter than ALSA
  • the speaker weren't automatically muted when I inserted the headphones jack: I had to mute them from ossxmix
  • ossxmix crashed every time a new client was created or killed (such as launching/closing mplayer)
  • using another computer I recorded the audio output of ALSA and OSS4 playing the same files, and they sounded the same to my ears, but zooming in to precisely align the tracks I found that OSS4 sometimes misaligned the left and right channels by one sample
My conclusion is that OSS4 is clearly inferior to ALSA, at least on my hardware and for my needs.
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Re: Do you prefer ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS

Postby kedaha » 2011-10-18 10:36

It seems that, unlike ALSA, the alternative OSS4 may require, since it's not installed by default, some configuring, according to this wiki and doesn't work for everyone; this is a bit of a let-down specially if one has read about its advantages in comparison with ALSA.
If Hannu's (the OSS developer) observations here are correct, then one can only conclude that Debian/kFreebsd looks like best choice for Debian users whose hardware is fully compatible with OSS4 and who prefer it to ALSA/PulseAudio. To the question, Why would you prefer Debian GNU/kFreeBSD to Debian GNU/Linux? the wiki, among other reasons gives:
Standardized kernel interfaces:
OSS as the default sound system (i.e. the standard interface supported by almost every Unix-like system around).

So Debian/kFreeBSD looks like an interesting alternative to the Gnome 3/Alsa/ PulseAudio future, but this is discussed in another topic.
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Re: Do you prefer ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS

Postby Mr James » 2011-10-18 15:37

PulseAudio seems to be really CPU dependant - at least when it comes to certain programs. The dolphin-emu GameCube/Wii emulator was using 100% of my E8400 under pulse while the gameplay was slow with stuttering. Dumping pulse and using ALSA reduced the CPU usage to 80% with very smooth and fast gameplay. The games played were Resident Evil Remake and Resident Evil Zero.
Yeah, I'm sticking with ALSA.
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Re: Is it not time to fully reinstate OSS4 in Debian?

Postby kedaha » 2011-12-11 13:12

Having used OSS4 on my main desktop Squeeze/Gnome system for quite some time I am more than pleased with the sound quality - and see no reason why it should not be put on an equal footing with ALSA.
However, users who are interested in trying OSS4 may read that "it is technically weak in some respects" in the Debian Wiki:
ALSA, the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture, is both a project and a body of software. The project was started because the OSS architecture is technically weak in some respects, and the free variant of OSS lacks some drivers available only in the commercial variant. For several years the ALSA software was developed separately from Linux. The drivers were added to the Linux codebase during the 2.5 development series and became the standard sound driver system in Linux 2.6.

Source:http://wiki.debian.org/ALSA#ALSA_and_OSS
And
Open Sound System is a set of device drivers for accessing sound cards and other sound devices under various UNIX operating systems. OSS has been derived from the Linux Sound Driver. Under Linux it is considered legacy, replaced by ALSA. Under GNU/kFreeBSD it is the native sound system.

Source: http://wiki.debian.org/OSS
Should a potential user browse Synaptic, they will read in the package description for oss4-base,
Open Sound System (OSS) is an attempt in unifying the digital audio architecture for UNIX.

From the above one might easily come to the conclusion that one would end up with some kind of substandard "attempt" or "set of technically weak, legacy device drivers replaced by ALSA" but even the linux-sound-base package which allows users to reconfigure the system to use OSS4, after
Code: Select all
# dpkg-reconfigure linux-sound-base

warns:
Choosing the ALSA sound system is strongly recommended.

I beg to differ: Can this strong recommendation of the Alsa Sound System and consideration of the Open Sound System quoted above be considered objective and impartial? is it fair? Ubuntu seems to have taken this to heart and gone the whole hog and removed OSS4 completely in favour of ALSA and PulseAudio but not Debian where users have this freedom of choice: A user can choose whatever kernel, desktop environment or drivers etc he/she prefers but why is the ALSA sound system strongly recommended?
Just as someone prefers Xfce to Gnome or prefers LXDE to either, I prefer OSS4 to Alsa but it's just my personal preference and I continue to be very interested in all audio systems running in Debian.
It seems to me much more in accordance with Debian's philosopy to place OSS4 on an equal footing with other sound systems, specially when it has been released under the General Public licence 2: opensource_oss/licensing.html. However, there is progress in this direction since it is the default sound system for Debian kfreebsd : Debian_GNU/kFreeBSD_why even though its detractors may consider it to be a "toy operating system" as discussed in another thread: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=66967.
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Re: Do you prefer ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS

Postby iceman » 2011-12-11 14:38

I hated Pulseaudio when it came out. It was rushed and many things where broken. Pulseaudio seems to be much better now and I haven't had any issues with it. So i voted Pulseaudio, however alsa and oss are tied at a very close second.
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Re: Do you prefer ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS

Postby uua80 » 2011-12-12 01:43

I have used ALSA for a long time and never had a problem with it. I had no sound on squeeze initially but that was fixed with a single command, not sure exactly what the command was.

PulseAudio was too buggy for my tastes when it first came out, I haven't bothered with it since.

I don't believe I've tried OSS.
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Re: Do you prefer ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS

Postby milomak » 2012-01-07 21:43

kedaha - was oss4 out on 1 Jun 2011? that's when the wiki was last updated. it being a wiki, do you not have the ability to update it?

that being said, i was going to install oss4 on my sid distro, however

Code: Select all
Retrieving bug reports... Done
Parsing Found/Fixed information... Done
grave bugs of oss4-dkms (-> 4.2-build2005-1) <unfixed>
 #645537 - oss4-dkms: dkms build fail
serious bugs of oss4-gtk (-> 4.2-build2005-1) <tagged as pending a fix>
 #647271 - oss4-gtk: uninstallable on kfreebsd
Summary:
 oss4-gtk(1 bug), oss4-dkms(1 bug)


do you know if the dkms failure can be manually fixed?
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Re: Do you prefer ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS

Postby vbrummond » 2012-01-07 21:57

I tried dolphin lately and it is probably more a bug with their pulse plugin than anything. The sound on there is very poor on some games and works great in others.
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Re: Do you prefer ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS

Postby 2Karl » 2012-01-08 16:51

Definitely Pulse (although it's sort of comparing apples and oranges, as Pulse is a layer which sits on top of Alsa). The ability to adjust individual volumes of applications is a must, and if set up correct, alsa apps won't hog all the resources, meaning you can get sound from multiple alsa apps at once.
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Re: Do you prefer ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS

Postby Ibidem » 2012-01-09 14:09

2Karl wrote:Definitely Pulse (although it's sort of comparing apples and oranges, as Pulse is a layer which sits on top of Alsa). The ability to adjust individual volumes of applications is a must, and if set up correct, alsa apps won't hog all the resources, meaning you can get sound from multiple alsa apps at once.

OSS4 can do that too.
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Re: Do you prefer ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS

Postby 2Karl » 2012-01-09 20:54

Ibidem wrote:OSS4 can do that too.


I have to admit, I've not experimented with OSS since way back before ALSA was standard, though I've heard it's a lot better these days.
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Re: Do you prefer ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS

Postby kedaha » 2012-01-10 09:39

milomak wrote:kedaha - was oss4 out on 1 Jun 2011? that's when the wiki was last updated. it being a wiki, do you not have the ability to update it?

Thanks milomak for your reply.
Yes, I think the wiki does need updating with regard to oss4 and I'll look at that some time.
milomak wrote:that being said, i was going to install oss4 on my sid distro, however

Code: Select all
Retrieving bug reports... Done
Parsing Found/Fixed information... Done
grave bugs of oss4-dkms (-> 4.2-build2005-1) <unfixed>
 #645537 - oss4-dkms: dkms build fail
serious bugs of oss4-gtk (-> 4.2-build2005-1) <tagged as pending a fix>
 #647271 - oss4-gtk: uninstallable on kfreebsd
Summary:
 oss4-gtk(1 bug), oss4-dkms(1 bug)


do you know if the dkms failure can be manually fixed?

I ran into the same problem. I found that the only way to use oss4 was to compile it from source using Stable as posted in viewtopic.php?f=16&t=52919&start=15#p395847 and install the resulting deb. This works in Wheezy and Sid too. If I find a manual fix for dkms I'll post again.
At present I'm playing around with a new pci-express Xtreme Audio soundcard which is a little problematic.
Code: Select all
$ lspci | grep Audio
01:00.1 Audio device: nVidia Corporation High Definition Audio Controller (rev a1)
02:00.0 PCI bridge: Creative Labs [SB X-Fi Xtreme Audio] CA0110-IBG PCI to PCIe Bridge
03:00.0 Audio device: Creative Labs [SB X-Fi Xtreme Audio] CA0110-IBG
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Re: Do you prefer ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS

Postby phenest » 2012-04-04 22:05

Ibidem wrote:
2Karl wrote:Definitely Pulse (although it's sort of comparing apples and oranges, as Pulse is a layer which sits on top of Alsa). The ability to adjust individual volumes of applications is a must, and if set up correct, alsa apps won't hog all the resources, meaning you can get sound from multiple alsa apps at once.

OSS4 can do that too.

ALSA can mix multiple apps too. As for individual volumes, I don't see how that is "a must". Rhythmbox already has it's own, as do most/all music/video players.
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Re: Do you prefer ALSA, PulseAudio or Open Sound System (OSS

Postby Magnusmaster » 2012-04-05 22:46

I use ALSA and so far I haven't got any issues.
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