Prospects of an OpenAL audio driver...

Nick Burns adger44 at
Tue Jun 6 19:51:09 CDT 2006

>Date: Tue, 06 Jun 2006 22:36:26 +0200
>Nick Burns wrote:
>>OpenAL 1.1 supports recording... (1.0 does not have recording so that is a 
>>problem yes)
>>-- My driver handles this atm -- it checks for recording capabilities and 
>>supports accordingly
>half or full duplex ?

Unknown... (sorry not an openal master ...yet...). I can ask the dev working 
on OpenAL about these types of things.

>>The OpenAL api is rather simple
>>- For playback : you make buffers and queue them then poll them (to find 
>>out when they are done)
>>                            There are some extensions that cut out 
>>copies/support eax/... (I have not looked at em yet)
>>           (support 2d and 3d audio)
>hmm that's what we said for Alsa... 3 years later quality is still not 
>there :-/

Hehe -- I had no knowledge of this (just learned oss, alsa and openal 
existed like 3 weeks ago)

>>- For recording (1.1 only) : start capturing -- poll (get data -- if 
>>there) -- stop recording
>>The dsound mapping stuff I want to understand better (are there any docs 
>>for this?)
>>I am sure we can layer it on OpenAL (hopefully good)
>I doubt it for direct HW mapping (HEL should be fine). Unfortunately, no 

Hmm... Is there a way I can request some docs (or is the source code + msdn 
the doc)?

>>PortAudio looks like a good choice as well -- afaict -- but I dont have 
>>any exp with it (not that I had any openal exp when i started that driver 
>The whole point here is that OpenAL doesn't bring much to the picture 
>(apart perhaps from a portability perspective, but it's still overkill).

I would not say overkill (well maybe for linux its overkill but....)

Mac OSX only has JACK(does not work atm), ESD(...slow), and now 
CoreAudio(crashs in winecfg -- does play games -- but has ... static) 
CoreAudio is the only one that can show any decent performance -- and its 
not really very... Portable

OpenAL can show good performance on Mac OSX and other platforms (so others 
can test things and stuff -- even under windows)

I am not saying that OpenAL should be the catch-all sound driver -- but its 
nice to have an alternative (that I can play GTA3 with -- although i suggest 
not playing with a trackpad)

You can take a look at my driver (posted to this list -- and its in the 
archive at 
It is heavily based on the esd driver (my starting point). Which was heavily 
based off of arts/alsa...

- Nick

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