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Old 07-26-2005, 02:52 PM   #1
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What is ALSA and OSS and how it work

I found ALSA and OSS installed on my FC3 system.

I want to know what are these package and what exactly r they doing. Are they working as a layer between the base and module/driver of soundcard installed. What if i compile a kernel without a ALSA or OSS package unchecked. And with proper support of my soundcard.
Old 07-26-2005, 03:14 PM   #2
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have you tried google? Take a look at the official ALSA and OSS homepages.

ALSA and OSS are both included in the later 2.6 kernels, along with many soundcard drivers. They may be compiled into the kernel or compiled as modules. You need ALSA in order to have sound working and I don't think it is possible to access soundcard drivers in the kernel without first turning on support for ALSA.

It seems strange to me that you do not entirely know about ALSA and OSS, but for some reason you want to remove them...
Old 07-26-2005, 03:24 PM   #3
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"I want to know what are these package and what exactly r they doing."

ALSA and OSS are sound drivers. They pretty much do the same thing and you don't need both. OSS was the original sound driver with Linux. OSS came with a license that said it was free for non-commercial use but they wanted money for commercial use. These terms were impossible for the distributions to enforce so somebody wrote ALSA in a hurry as a GPL licensed substitute for OSS. I am surprised that you have OSS on Fedora. Maybe the OSS owners have relaxed their licensing terms.

Steve Stites

Last edited by jailbait; 07-26-2005 at 04:42 PM.
Old 07-26-2005, 03:53 PM   #4
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Maybe Fedora doesn't care about being completely free. But OSS is being deprecated. Alsa is the new thing so it's probably best to use that. There are compatibility programs for alsa so you can use oss when programs only do OSS. This isn't the case the other way.

I'm not really sure what would happen if you only did support for your soundcard in the kernel. Programs have to write immediately to your sound card. Then there's the question on it they can do that, or if you can configure them to do so. Also your card will need hardware mixing or you're stuck with 1 stream at the same time.
Old 07-26-2005, 03:57 PM   #5
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The only reason to use OSS is if you have a really old "legacy" soundcard like the Sounblaster 16. ALSA does not like those very much.


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