ALSA / libasound

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ALSA / libasound

John Emmas
Hi there.  I'm in the early stages of considering whether or not I can port
a Linux project to Windows.  I've already established that the 2 most
promising routes are MinGW and Cygwin.  For no particular reason I decided
to start with Cygwin.

However, after a couple of weeks I've hit a major snag.  The project uses a
Linux library called libasound which implements a set of tools for handling
sound and midi.  It does this through the use of ALSA which unfotunately,
isn't supported by Cygwin.  Would I have any more success if I moved to
MinGW or have I embarked on a fool's errand?

Thanks,

John


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Re: ALSA / libasound

Erik de Castro Lopo
John Emmas wrote:

> Hi there.  I'm in the early stages of considering whether or not I can port
> a Linux project to Windows.

Out of curiosity, which project?

> However, after a couple of weeks I've hit a major snag.  The project uses a
> Linux library called libasound which implements a set of tools for handling
> sound and midi.  It does this through the use of ALSA which unfotunately,
> isn't supported by Cygwin.  Would I have any more success if I moved to
> MinGW or have I embarked on a fool's errand?

MinGW will not help you.

ALSA (and libasound) are Linux specific audio APIs. If the app
depends on ALSA, the best way forward would be to modify the
app so that i can use either ALSA or optionally a cross platform
audio API like PortAudio. Once the app can use PortAudio in place
of ALSA, that part of the porting should be painless.

Erik
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Re: ALSA / libasound

Vincent Torri
In reply to this post by John Emmas

Hey

> Hi there.  I'm in the early stages of considering whether or not I can port
> a Linux project to Windows.  I've already established that the 2 most
> promising routes are MinGW and Cygwin.  For no particular reason I decided
> to start with Cygwin.
>
> However, after a couple of weeks I've hit a major snag.  The project uses a
> Linux library called libasound which implements a set of tools for handling
> sound and midi.  It does this through the use of ALSA which unfotunately,
> isn't supported by Cygwin.  Would I have any more success if I moved to
> MinGW or have I embarked on a fool's errand?

ALSA stands for Advanced Linux Sound Architecture, so it's specific to
linux. You won't be able to compile it on windows (using cygwin or mingw).
You have to use something else for sound on Windows. I've never touched
the sound on Windows but maybe DirectSound is what you want. Maybe other
people will give you better advices about what to use.

regards

Vincent Torri

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Re: ALSA / libasound

Joachim Schiele
In reply to this post by John Emmas
On Sonntag 05 Oktober 2008, John Emmas wrote:

if it is a normal audio application like skype or a game then you could
consider using openAl or any other cross platform audio backend. since you
mentioned midi i guess it is a high end audio application. in this case port
it to use jack which handles audio/midi. you can then deploy your code to
linux/mac/windows without many problems. if you do not want to use jack audio
connection kit, have a look at [1]. but keep in mind: doing midi stuff
usually requires good timings - choose: jack audio connection kit. see [2]
for windows jack deployment, see [3] for linux and mac deployment and finally
see [4] if you want to have a easy and basic jack midi client.

[1] http://0pointer.de/blog/projects/
[2] http://www.grame.fr/~letz/jackdmp.html
[3] http://jackaudio.org/
[4] http://pin.if.uz.zgora.pl/~trasz/jack-keyboard/

hat project are you working on?

> Hi there.  I'm in the early stages of considering whether or not I can port
> a Linux project to Windows.  I've already established that the 2 most
> promising routes are MinGW and Cygwin.  For no particular reason I decided
> to start with Cygwin.
>
> However, after a couple of weeks I've hit a major snag.  The project uses a
> Linux library called libasound which implements a set of tools for handling
> sound and midi.  It does this through the use of ALSA which unfotunately,
> isn't supported by Cygwin.  Would I have any more success if I moved to
> MinGW or have I embarked on a fool's errand?
>
> Thanks,
>
> John
>
>
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Re: ALSA / libasound

John Emmas
In reply to this post by Vincent Torri
Many thanks guys, esp for the prompt replies.  As it happens, the only parts
of ALSA / libasound that I need are those concerned with midi.  Therefore if
there was a suitable open source midi library I could possibly use that
instead.

Erik - I'm thinking (only semi-seriously at the moment) about finishing off
this project that was started by Tim Mayberry about 2 years ago:-

http://soc2006.linuxaudio.info/

It's a long time since I heard from Tim but I think the project is now
dormant and I just wondered if it might be worth revisiting.  Sometimes,
problems and solutions seem a lot easier with a fresh pair of eyes and
a long break..!

Incidentally, is this Wikipedia article still up to date?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MSYS

In the comparisons with Cygwin it seems to suggest that Cygwin is the better
choice for projects that expect POSIX compatibility.  I just wondered if
that's still the case?

Cheers,

John


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Re: ALSA / libasound

Tuomo Latto
John Emmas wrote:
> Many thanks guys, esp for the prompt replies.  As it happens, the only parts
> of ALSA / libasound that I need are those concerned with midi.  Therefore if
> there was a suitable open source midi library I could possibly use that
> instead.

Or you could go for native support:
http://www.google.com/search?q=%2Bmsdn+%2Bmidi
http://www.google.com/search?q=%2Bwindows+%2Bmidi+%2B%22how-to%22+%2Bprogramming
http://www.codeguru.com/cpp/g-m/multimedia/audio/article.php/c4715


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... As a matter of fact, no, I don't have a life


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Re: ALSA / libasound

John Emmas
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tuomo Latto" Thanks Tuomo.  That thought had occurred to me but I'm not yet sufficiently
experienced (with either MinGW or Cygwin) to know if they are happy to link
to standard Windows libs and dll's.  Of course, Cygwin can link to a Cygwin
generated library and MinGW can link to a MinGW generated library - but can
they also link to standard Windows libraries, such as winmm.dll?  If so,
then you're absolutely right.  That would make life a whole lot simpler.

John


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Re: ALSA / libasound

Erik de Castro Lopo
In reply to this post by John Emmas
John Emmas wrote:


> As it happens, the only parts of ALSA / libasound that I need are those
> concerned with midi.

Have a look at PortMidi.

> Erik - I'm thinking (only semi-seriously at the moment) about finishing off
> this project that was started by Tim Mayberry about 2 years ago:-
>
> http://soc2006.linuxaudio.info/

Ah yes, Ardour on windows.

> In the comparisons with Cygwin it seems to suggest that Cygwin is the better
> choice for projects that expect POSIX compatibility.  I just wondered if
> that's still the case?

I find no compelling reason to use Cygwin over MinGW.

Erik
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Re: ALSA / libasound

Brian Dessent
In reply to this post by John Emmas
John Emmas wrote:

> In the comparisons with Cygwin it seems to suggest that Cygwin is the better
> choice for projects that expect POSIX compatibility.  I just wondered if
> that's still the case?

It doesn't make any sense to compare Cygwin and MSYS like that because
they serve very different purposes.

MSYS' only purpose is to port developer tools like perl, bash, autoconf,
etc.  Those tools in turn are used in conjunction with the MinGW
toolchain to produce native Windows binaries.  MSYS is not meant to be
used to port abitrary user code that requires POSIX compatibility.  If
you want that, you should be using Cygwin.  MSYS is only about providing
a build environment for MinGW apps.

Brian

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Re: ALSA / libasound

John Emmas
>>
>> John Emmas wrote:
>>
>> In the comparisons with Cygwin it seems to suggest that Cygwin is the
>> better choice for projects that expect POSIX compatibility.  I just
>> wondered if that's still the case?
>
From: "Brian Dessent"

>
> It doesn't make any sense to compare Cygwin and MSYS like that because
> they serve very different purposes.
>
> MSYS' only purpose is to port developer tools like perl, bash, autoconf,
> etc.  Those tools in turn are used in conjunction with the MinGW
> toolchain to produce native Windows binaries.  MSYS is not meant to be
> used to port abitrary user code that requires POSIX compatibility.  If
> you want that, you should be using Cygwin.  MSYS is only about providing
> a build environment for MinGW apps.
>

Brian - that's a very clear distinction which I found hugely helpful.  You
should think about updating the Wikipedia article because your description
would significantly clarify what's already written there.

Thanks,

John

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Re: ALSA / libasound

Keith Marshall
On Monday 06 October 2008 05:41:40 John Emmas wrote:

> > MSYS' only purpose is to port developer tools like perl, bash,
> > autoconf, etc.  Those tools in turn are used in conjunction with
> > the MinGW toolchain to produce native Windows binaries.  MSYS is
> > not meant to be used to port abitrary user code that requires
> > POSIX compatibility.  If you want that, you should be using
> > Cygwin.  MSYS is only about providing a build environment for
> > MinGW apps.
>
> Brian - that's a very clear distinction which I found hugely
> helpful.

Even though it's a load of old codswallop?

I do wish that people would desist from dissemination of this type of
misinformation about MSYS.  I rarely need to take Brian Dessent to
task, for his advice normally is authoritative and accurate, but on
this occasion, it is more reminiscent of the sort of FUD we expect
from a Microsoft gnome.

| MSYS' only purpose is to port developer tools like perl, bash,
| autoconf, etc.
| ...
| MSYS is only about providing a build environment for MinGW apps.

This is nonsense!  It is true that the primary motivating force behind
the development of MSYS was to provide a friendly environment for
building of MinGW apps, (and in particular, apps built from source
code originating in the more Open Source friendly UNIX environment).
However, what MSYS is actually about is providing a Bourne Shell
command line interpreter for MS-Windows -- little more[1] and no
less.  To make this CLI more useful, it is accompanied by a minimal
set of GNU tools, carefully selected to facilitate building of Open
Source applications, but to suggest that it is only useful for this
purpose is patently ridiculous.

| MSYS is not meant to be used to port abitrary user code that
| requires POSIX compatibility.

This much is true, to some degree.  It is certainly possible to port
POSIX code to MS-Windows, using MinGW and MSYS, but where that code
relies on POSIX APIs which are not natively supported, (i.e. with
compatible entry points in the native MS-Windows APIs), neither MinGW
nor MSYS will absolve you of a need to rewrite the code, to exploit a
native MS-Windows API, in place of the unsupported POSIX API.

| If you want [something which does] that, you [could use] Cygwin.

Cygwin provides an API library, comprehensively emulating much of
POSIX on MS-Windows.  MSYS uses a subset of an early version of this
Cygwin API library, internally.  However, unlike Cygwin, in which
user applications are expected to link with this POSIX emulation
library, MSYS does not expose this API for user applications.  Thus,
if you don't want to rewrite the POSIX dependent portions of an
application which you are porting, Cygwin will certainly be more
useful to you than MinGW+MSYS, but at a price: your application will
become Cygwin dependent, and your distribution rights will be
governed by the Cygwin licence.  If you want true native MS-Windows
compatibility, without the restricted distribution rights, and you
are prepared to expend the additional effort to substitute MS-Windows  
for POSIX APIs, then MinGW+MSYS would be more suited to your needs.

> You should think about updating the Wikipedia article
> because your description would significantly clarify what's already
> written there.

That certainly isn't at all authoritative, and is even inaccurate in
places.  Our own web site is a much more reliable source of accurate
information; (see: http://mingw.org).

Regards,
Keith.

[1] The `little more', here, refers to the built in mapping of the
disjointed MS-Windows file system to the more homogeneous POSIX style
representation, which is understood by the MSYS shell, and by those
applications which are distributed as MSYS components.

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Re: ALSA / libasound

Earnie Boyd
In reply to this post by John Emmas

Quoting John Emmas <[hidden email]>:

>
> Brian - that's a very clear distinction which I found hugely helpful.  You
> should think about updating the Wikipedia article because your description
> would significantly clarify what's already written there.
>

I've added a MinGW Maintainer Note at the top of the wikipedia page
redirecting users to www.mingw.org.

Earnie

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Re: ALSA / libasound

John Emmas
In reply to this post by Keith Marshall
----- Original Message -----
From: "Keith Marshall"
>
>> On Monday 06 October 2008 05:41:40 John Emmas wrote:
>>
>> Brian - that's a very clear distinction which I found hugely
>> helpful.
>
>Even though it's a load of old codswallop?
>

LOL - a bit harsh, maybe... :-)   My main source of confusion was over the
level of POSIX support provided by the 2 different approaches.  Wikipedia
seemed to suggest that there's no POSIX support at all in MinGW whereas
the MinGW home page says that POSIX support is provided by MSYS.  To be
fair to Brian, I thought he explained very well that neither MinGW nor MSYS
extend that support to user-compiled apps.  IMHO, this needs to be clarified
in the Wikipedia article which (at present) is inaccurate and confusing.

And for my own personal preference, I think it would be better to clarify
any inaccuracies in the Wikipedia entry, rather than just direct people to
the MinGW home page.  For this particular issue, the home page clarifies the
situation immediately and obviously.  But the home page is bound to change
over time.  Therefore the facts might end up getting buried somewhere less
obvious, as time progresses.

John


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Re: ALSA / libasound

Earnie Boyd

Quoting John Emmas <[hidden email]>:

> And for my own personal preference, I think it would be better to clarify
> any inaccuracies in the Wikipedia entry, rather than just direct people to
> the MinGW home page.  For this particular issue, the home page clarifies the
> situation immediately and obviously.  But the home page is bound to change
> over time.  Therefore the facts might end up getting buried somewhere less
> obvious, as time progresses.

The problem I have with the wikipedia data is that the data can become
stale.  I don't plan to update wikipedia for every change on
www.mingw.org.

Earnie

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Re: ALSA / libasound

Keith Marshall
In reply to this post by John Emmas
On Monday 06 October 2008 19:34:55 John Emmas wrote:
> >> Brian - that's a very clear distinction which I found hugely
> >> helpful.
> >
> > Even though it's a load of old codswallop?
>
> LOL - a bit harsh, maybe...

Maybe, but I tire of refuting the false claim that MSYS is only for
building MinGW apps.  In fact, of the five or six machines I have
MSYS installed on at work, only one also has MinGW, (and I don't
often use it).  On the others, I use it primarily with CVS and GNU
troff, (groff), to maintain project documentation, or to manage code
for a proprietary, (non-C), system; on one I even use it, along with
Gordon Chaffee's port of `expect', to automate running a particularly
irritating legacy MS-DOS application, (also proprietary), which runs
for about 20 mins, and insists on pausing at intervals to prompt for
user input, where 999 times out of 1000 I want it to simply run with
its default responses, but it gives me no mechanism to tell it that
up front.

> :-)   My main source of confusion was
> over the level of POSIX support provided by the 2 different
> approaches.  Wikipedia seemed to suggest that there's no POSIX
> support at all in MinGW whereas the MinGW home page says that POSIX
> support is provided by MSYS.  To be fair to Brian, I thought he
> explained very well that neither MinGW nor MSYS extend that support
> to user-compiled apps.

He did, and I did agree that he got that bit right; it was his other
statements, that I took issue with.

> IMHO, this needs to be clarified in the
> Wikipedia article which (at present) is inaccurate and confusing.

Well, as I understand it, you have as much right as anyone else, to
rectify that.

> And for my own personal preference, I think it would be better to
> clarify any inaccuracies in the Wikipedia entry, rather than just
> direct people to the MinGW home page.

Why on earth would you expect a Wikipedia article, over which we have
no direct control, and for which we take no responsibility, to offer
more authoritative information than *our* *own* web site?  If it's
pie in the sky you want, dream on...

It simply isn't going to happen, if you expect anyone but yourself to
take on the responsibility.  Most people will more likely seek such
information on our web site, than rely on non-authoritative sources.

Regards,
Keith.

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Re: ALSA / libasound

Ross Ridge
In reply to this post by John Emmas
John Emmas writes:
> Brian - that's a very clear distinction which I found hugely
> helpful.

Keith Marshall write:
> Even though it's a load of old codswallop?

No, Brian Dessent is spot on.  If, on your own machine, you want to
pretend MSYS is anything more than a minimal environment for building
apps with configure scripts, then that's your problem.  However, your
churlish partisan response doesn't do anyone any favours.  If someone
wants a Unix-like shell on Windows they should be using something like
Cygwin that provides a complete Unix-like environment.

                                        Ross Ridge


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Re: ALSA / libasound

Earnie Boyd
In reply to this post by Keith Marshall

Quoting Keith Marshall <[hidden email]>:

> On Monday 06 October 2008 19:34:55 John Emmas wrote:
>> >> Brian - that's a very clear distinction which I found hugely
>> >> helpful.
>> >
>> > Even though it's a load of old codswallop?
>>
>> LOL - a bit harsh, maybe...
>
> Maybe, but I tire of refuting the false claim that MSYS is only for
> building MinGW apps.

As the originator of MSYS I want to say your both correct.  I began
MSYS with the purpose to facilitate executing configure scripts to
create a Makefile that you could then execute gmake on.  However, as
Keith points out, it can be used for a greater purpose.  Frankly, these
days I use MSYS not to build programs but to create and test scripts to
run on my UNIX systems.

Earnie

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Re: ALSA / libasound

Keith Marshall
On Tuesday 07 October 2008 16:54:34 Earnie Boyd wrote:
> > Maybe, but I tire of refuting the false claim that MSYS is only
> > for building MinGW apps.
>
> As the originator of MSYS I want to say [you're] both correct.

Uhmmm.  Not really.  I'll illustrate with an analogy...

> I began MSYS with the purpose to facilitate executing configure
> scripts to create a Makefile that you could then execute gmake
> on.

That's fine, and completely understood; it establishes the *minimum*
functional requirement, *not* the ultimate capability.

By analogy, I need a motor vehicle to facilitate my daily commute to
and from work.  Suppose I choose a Volkswagen Golf.  Does this imply
that a Volkswagen Golf can only be used for commuting to and from
work?  Perhaps I need a different vehicle, to go and collect a few
bags of groceries from a nearby supermarket?

> However, as Keith points out, it can be used for a greater purpose.

Indeed; just as a Volkswagen Golf is equally suited to either of the
above purposes, and a great many others besides.  To suggest that
MSYS is only for building MinGW applications is analogous to a silly
attempt to refute this practical reality.

> Frankly, these days I use MSYS not to build programs but to create
> and test scripts to run on my UNIX systems.

And, if more proof were needed, here it is; the creator of MSYS
himself uses it for purposes beyond his original objectives.

Regards,
Keith.

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Re: ALSA / libasound

Keith Marshall
In reply to this post by Ross Ridge
On Tuesday 07 October 2008 11:36:34 Ross Ridge wrote:
> No, Brian Dessent is spot on.

No, he is not.  He is, perhaps unintentionally, dead wrong, as are
you, (except that, in your case, there is clear intent to mislead).

> If, on your own machine, you want to
> pretend MSYS is anything more than a minimal environment for
> building apps with configure scripts, then that's your problem.

I don't have a problem.

>  However, your churlish partisan response

If you consider it churlish to warn users when information posted is
either misleading, or just plain incorrect, then that's your problem.

> doesn't do anyone any favours.

It does, if it prevents just one user from believing misinformation,
such as that which you seek to perpetuate.

> If someone wants a Unix-like shell on Windows they should
> be using something like Cygwin that provides a complete Unix-like
> environment.

Really?  Why?  Simply because Ross the Troll says so?  No doubt you
will consider me churlish to say so[*], but this is utter bullshit.  
The reality is that MSYS provides an advanced Bourne shell for use on
MS-Windows; (it is, in fact, GNU bash).  It may be used for anything
that a user may reasonably expect GNU bash to accomplish; that may
quite realistically include a great deal more than only building
applications with configure scripts.

If MSYS meets the user's requirements, to their satisfaction, then it
is a good choice.  Cygwin may also be a good choice; it is the user's
prerogative to decide which is the better of these choices, in their
own particular circumstances.

Regards,
Keith.

[*] If you do consider this churlish, then you should:

1) Get over it.
2) Grow a backbone, and/or get a life.
3) Request a reversal of your sense-of-humour bypass surgery.

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Re: ALSA / libasound

John Brown
In reply to this post by Keith Marshall


On Mon, 13 Oct 2008 15:51:08 +0100, Keith Marshall wrote:

>
> On Tuesday 07 October 2008 16:54:34 Earnie Boyd wrote:
>>> Maybe, but I tire of refuting the false claim that MSYS is only
>>> for building MinGW apps.
>>
>> As the originator of MSYS I want to say [you're] both correct.
>
> Uhmmm.  Not really.  I'll illustrate with an analogy...
>
>> I began MSYS with the purpose to facilitate executing configure
>> scripts to create a Makefile that you could then execute gmake
>> on.
>
> That's fine, and completely understood; it establishes the *minimum*
> functional requirement, *not* the ultimate capability.
>
> By analogy, I need a motor vehicle to facilitate my daily commute to
> and from work.  Suppose I choose a Volkswagen Golf.  Does this imply
> that a Volkswagen Golf can only be used for commuting to and from
> work?  Perhaps I need a different vehicle, to go and collect a few
> bags of groceries from a nearby supermarket?
>

Let me rush in (where angels fear to tread?) with an analogy of my own.

An axe is a tool for chopping wood. Nevertheless, axe murderers have used
axes with great effect for other purposes.  However, most people who need
to kill somebody use a gun, which was, in fact, designed to kill people
efficiently. As much as the axe murderer's creativity in seeing a murder
weapon where the rest of us see only a humble cousin to the hammer,
screwdriver, and friends is to be admired, it in no way changes the fact that
killing people is not what axes are for.

MSYS is a Minimal SYStem for runing configure scripts on Windows. I am
sure that I have seen discussions on this list about what to include or leave
out to prevent MSYS from becoming another Cygwin and losing sight of the
Minimal in MSYS.


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