[linux-audio-dev] support of pro sound equipment

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Subject: [linux-audio-dev] support of pro sound equipment
From: Bill Gribble (grib_AT_cs.utexas.edu)
Date: su loka   04 1998 - 11:40:12 EDT

I recently had a bad experience with the OSS sound driver people which
brings up some issues about the future of Linux and audio.

I run a small, almost all analog studio. I recently made a fairly
chunky investment to bring a computer into the control room. The idea
is that we have a Known To Sound Good path for recording and mixdown,
and there's no reason or $$ to go to all-digital, but it would be nice
to have a good quality digital mixdown/mastering station so we can
mixdown through high-quality a/d converters and go straight to disk
for mastering and test CD production, small-run demos, etc.

Anyway, I bought a Zefiro ZA-2 because that was the only s/pdif or
AES/EBU card that I could find any kind of drivers for Linux. I paid
$50 to OSS to get the driver, only to find out that it only supports
16-bit input (the card supports 20), the right and left channels get
swapped frequently, and it can only output at 48 kHz! This is
obviously pre-beta-level software. So I waited, and waited, and
checked their website frequently, and sent friendly encouraging emails
offering to help with the development, and got nothing. Finally, I
get email from the president of the company saying they are dropping
support for the ZA-2 and I can have a free license for the sek'd
PRODIF card.

It's not going to kill me to buy a prodif, and it's a fine card. But
the question is: with the "centralized driver development" model that
Linux uses (i.e. all drivers are distributed by authors who generally
have many drivers that they maintain) can we have a prayer of ever
getting support for very small-market hardware like all of that fancy
stuff that's coming out now? (DSP Factory, etc) I mean, I'd
definitely prefer open source stuff, but I'll pay for it if I know
that if I buy code without source, that it's going to be maintained.

Any thoughts?

And anybody want to buy a Zefiro ZA-2, cheep? (1/2 :)

Bill Gribble

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