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  • Open-Source Creative X-Fi Support

    Phoronix: Open-Source Creative X-Fi Support

    Last Friday 4Front Technologies had released the binaries and source-code to OSS 4.0 Build 1013. This new build of the Open Sound System brings two major changes, which include the full source code now being available for the M-Audio Revolution and Delta sound card drivers, and a beta driver for the Sound Blast X-Fi series from Creative Labs. While earlier Sound Blaster generations have worked quite well with ALSA and OSS, the Creative X-Fi series is a black sheep under Linux. The X-Fi support that Creative Labs has provided to the Linux community has been abominable and support via ALSA (the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) has yet to go anywhere while support for the complete X-Fi series via OSS is just starting to emerge. Interestingly though, Creative had provided the register documentation and other code to 4Front Technologies for this new "sbxfi" driver.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=11797

  • #2
    Where'd they get the code from?

    So, OSS is using copyrighted Creative Labs code in their open-source driver? I wonder where they got it from.

    Seems likely that they somehow got their hands on the code of the binary beta driver that Creative released in September. I hope Creative doesn't ask for it back.

    If Creative did hand over the code/specs to OSS, that's definitely a good thing, and a very useful way for companies to contribute to the open-source community, I will definitely support Creative for doing something like that.

    I do wonder though, what issues may arise since it wasn't handed over by Creative as GPL.

    Alex

    Originally posted by phoronix View Post
    Phoronix: Open-Source Creative X-Fi Support

    Last Friday 4Front Technologies had released the binaries and source-code to OSS 4.0 Build 1013. This new build of the Open Sound System brings two major changes, which include the full source code now being available for the M-Audio Revolution and Delta sound card drivers, and a beta driver for the Sound Blast X-Fi series from Creative Labs. While earlier Sound Blaster generations have worked quite well with ALSA and OSS, the Creative X-Fi series is a black sheep under Linux. The X-Fi support that Creative Labs has provided to the Linux community has been abominable and support via ALSA (the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) has yet to go anywhere while support for the complete X-Fi series via OSS is just starting to emerge. Interestingly though, Creative had provided the register documentation and other code to 4Front Technologies for this new "sbxfi" driver.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=11797

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    • #3
      Yes, they are using copyrighted code from Creative Labs in their OSS driver.

      I'd expect 4Front got it legally. So far Creative has yet to respond.
      Michael Larabel
      http://www.michaellarabel.com/

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      • #4
        This makes me quite joyous. I hope that the recording support will continue to improve--it's the only thing keeping me from getting the XtremeGamer version with the $20 off coupon in the Bioshock box.

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        • #5
          Awesome. Can Linux finally get rid of ALSA and go back to OSS? I know the developers would certainly be a lot happier since it's a lot easier to code for OSS than ALSA.

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          • #6
            Does this mean Creative is readying a new generation release? Up until now I only knew the X-Fi like that "X-Fi", today I learnt that its actual name was Emu20K1 (makes sense as the Live! generation and its offspring was Emu10K1 [Live!] and Emu10K2 [Audigy]).

            I certainly hope Creative will eventually actually release documentation (maybe inspired in so doing by AMD and Intel?) for Open Source developers (not only 4Front, or even if they are using 4Front as proxy) for their products. And not only that, but it would be awesome if they did indeed Open Sourced EAX, who knows? maybe even make it part of OpenAL (one can dream, can't one?) and also make available documentation for stuff like 96KHz and 24-bit sound on the Emu10K2 (Audigy) parts, as well as other "goodies" (I know Dolby Digital and DTS hardware decoding couldn't be disclosed, but if they could at least provide binary plugins for ALSA it would be swell [yes, another dream moment]), like maybe full capture capabilities, post-processing effects, etc...

            *sigh* One can only wish, I know...


            BTW, does anyone know if any of the other high end cards support hardware mixing in ALSA? That's actually very important to me, and the primary reason why I hold to this ancient Live! Value card of mine.

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            • #7
              I might need a sound card for one of my computers. Whenever I pause video (for e.g., playing a DVD), I can hear buzzing whenever using my earphones.

              Anyway, my question is, with this info, can I finally consider Sound Blaster X-Fi cards? Or should I stick with M-Audio or Delta cards? The latter are often expensive but I guess not all the cards are. I was looking at M-Audio Audiophile 2496, Revolution 5.1 (any reason to consider 7.1?) and any cheap Delta card (probably harder for me to find). Of course, the X-Fi cards are easiest to find but I read that they're only supported in Linux if using a 64-bit distro and by "support", who knows what that means.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Michael View Post
                Yes, they are using copyrighted code from Creative Labs in their OSS driver.

                I'd expect 4Front got it legally. So far Creative has yet to respond.
                On the alsa mailing list I saw some interesting information:
                http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux....06/focus=51341

                To make it short, James Courtier-Dutton mention that he will receive datasheets "in the next week or so" from Creative and after that he might be able to shade some light on licensing of the current driver.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DanL View Post
                  Awesome. Can Linux finally get rid of ALSA and go back to OSS? I know the developers would certainly be a lot happier since it's a lot easier to code for OSS than ALSA.
                  ALSA can emulate OSS, what's the big deal?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Pseus View Post
                    ALSA can emulate OSS, what's the big deal?
                    http://4front-tech.com/hannublog/?p=5

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DanL View Post
                      Awesome. Can Linux finally get rid of ALSA and go back to OSS? I know the developers would certainly be a lot happier since it's a lot easier to code for OSS than ALSA.
                      OSS is dead on linux and it was killed by 4Front.

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                      • #12
                        As long as OSS is not GPL, it doesn't exist. This is stated in the comments section on that site, but it's also the truth. If OSS was under the same licensing terms like ALSA, then we could start a technically-oriented debate, and choose the one that is superior -- I don't think the kernel developers would really have a problem if that was the case.

                        Until that time, there really is no alternative to ALSA, for better or for worse.

                        That being said -- I always found the very idea of paying for drivers to be preposterous. Sure, if they actually offered some extraordinary improvement (like DTS or Dolby in hardware, that can't be had in free software); but just to be able to hear bleeps out of the hardware I actually paid for (!) should I shelve more money? that's insane.

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                        • #13
                          Now that, is an interesting read...also it appears that the OSS is now licensed:

                          - GPL2
                          - CDDL
                          - Commercial

                          The former option is the one of notice. So in that case...what's the problem, or am I missing something here?
                          Source: http://www.opensound.com/press/2007/oss-gpl-cddl.txt
                          Last edited by Uchikoma; 02-07-2008, 12:37 PM.

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                          • #14
                            OSS4 has been GPL2 for more then 8 months and still doesn't seem to be talked about that much.. I would very much enjoy the new version of OSS being a solid option in some Linux Distros

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pzad View Post
                              OSS is dead on linux and it was killed by 4Front.
                              Considering that the API's still much in use by everyone and that it's improved AND made GPLed, it might be time to re-evaluate things, much like it's come time to re-evaluate the sound frameworks in GNOME and KDE.

                              I do know that it's damned annoying to have to tapdance around all the issues from the various different (and utterly incompatible...) sound output frameworks. I'd already have one of the titles for LGP put to bed and off for final beta/gold mastering if it weren't for an obnoxious sound problem in the cutscenes with certain configurations for sound playback.

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