Date:	Mon, 2 Feb 1998 02:51:29 -0700 (MST)
From:	Colin Plumb <>
Subject: OSS and Linux

I don't really know what to do about the state of the Linux sound code, but
I can provide some background to help inform people.

People who know more than I will hopefully clear up the corners.

Hannu writes a set of commercial sound drivers for many Unix platforms.
He's contributed a large part of that to Linux.  This is, from many
points of view, a Good Thing.  Linux gets well-written sound drivers,
which are fully compatible with many other Unices, and Hannu gets exposure
and development activity which can lead to ports to his other platforms,
and can claim to be THE unix sound expert.

And all this happens without any duplication of effort.

Hannu has not, however, contributed *all* of his word to Linux.
In particular, a lot of nice setup features like IRQ autodetection,
a slicker kernel config, and loadable modules are *not* included,
as well as some cards which he had to sign NDAs to get the specs for.

The purpose of these omissions is to give Linux something fully functional
but still leave some incentive to buy the full OSS.  (Which is awfully
cheap even for mass-market PC software, never mind Unix software prices.)

However, it does mean that the Linux sound drivers are somewhat crippled,
and people want to improve them.

The question is whether to split off from Hannu's work and go separately,
or negotiate something with him so that everybody continues to benefit from
continued sharing of the code base.

Holding back Linux permanently is obviously a bad thing, but coordinating
is not evil and would be worthwhile.  And Hannu has made substantial
contributions to Linux.  It would be rude to get antagonistic without
good cause.