OSS apps vs. ALSA apps

D. Michael McIntyre michael.mcintyre at rosegardenmusic.com
Sun Feb 24 15:56:49 GMT 2008

On Sunday 24 February 2008, raydar wrote:
> I think I spoke too soon if I thought alsa-oss would be the silver
> bullet for Gtick + Jack compatibility: I installed the alsa-oss package,
> but even after a reboot, nothing has changed; Gtick still gives me the
> "Couldn't start metronome. Please check if specified sound device and
> sample file are accessible" error if I try to start it ticking after
> Jack is running.

I would expect this is the usual problem with hardware that won't accept 
multiple connections (which is so common it's definitely the rule by a wide 
margin, and not the exception.)  When JACK is running, it eats up the one 
connection, and blocks the soundcard.  The usual old school way to deal with 
this is to make sure every audio app you use can speak JACK, or run one or 
the other.  (I think there used to be a little wrapper so you could run 
jack_hack_wrapper_thingie my_old_dumb_app and get it to work that way, but if 
I'm not dreaming that, I haven't been able to figure out how to do that in 

That looks like the culprit to me, after a look at the Gtick page.  I used to 
prefer Sweep as my wave editor of choice, and it's an old 
only_one_method_of_audio_production app that doesn't speak JACK either.  I 
used to turn JACK off to use Sweep.  Now I use MHWaveEdit or reZound instead, 
which speak JACK just fine.

There is some new school way of dealing with this issue using something that I 
think they call the "dmix plug layer" or something to that effect.  I must 
confess that when I tried to read through the information on how to get this 
to work with my ice1712, I got frustrated quickly, and gave up in total 
despair.  I can't make heads or tails of all that blather about plug layers 
and asoundrcs.  I've been using ALSA since 0.5.x without ever having to screw 
with an asoundrc file, and I like it that way.  When I did try to do this, 
the documentation I found was wretched, and assumed I already had a PhD in 
audio engineering or something.  Just blather your boodles to your 
scluppthiths and then scalate your eschillitons to the blintzfluffles, and 
you should immediately grath your plarkitty splimmles.  Isn't that totally 
obvious, stupid?

Now the world sees what a piss poor expert I am.  I probably totally omitted 
the Magic Sploofloodle everyone has known about and used since 2003.

Oh well, this message is worth every penny paid for it.
D. Michael McIntyre 

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