3 out of 6 users prefer software mixing

In a slightly unscientific poll I attempted find out what users prefer, Hardware Sound Mixing or Software Sound Mixing.

Here is a GNOME user enjoying Hardware Sound Mixing, he looks happy and carefree.

Here is a GNOME user enjoying Software Sound Mixing, he also looks happy and carefree.

Thus the toss up, users seem to prefer each type just as much. One could say a lot of users (people who listen to music) don’t care where the sound gets mixed, in hardware or software, just that it does. Andrew got to the point that if you saw the pulse audio demo at the GNOME Summit you’d have been impressed, it allows us to be really reactive and dynamic with sound where we haven’t at all before; a huge step forward that’s available now.

I think Lennart’s mail while long and possibly abrasive to some people was pretty refreshing and right on at the same time. Right now we seem to be at a situation where audio sucks for most of our users all of the time because there is no mixing happing and no integration at the GNOME level. Things suck almost as much for people with hardware mixing because they have to go search the web for a solution to use their hardware mixer at the ALSA level. PA seems like it will at least bring GNOME forward for the majority of users who are likely having issues with sound, working to make hardware mixing work just as well seems like an parallel process, not a conflicting one.

And there’s no reason we couldn’t do much better than the vista sound mixer, we try. I’ve already gotten started and will need to post more mockups as I have them.

[Picture by Flickr user Fanboy30, used under a CC-BY-SA-NC license.]

6 responses to “3 out of 6 users prefer software mixing

  1. Rudolf Kastl

    why would anyone prefer softmixing over hardware mixing besides a hardware manufacturer that saves a few cents? softmixing has the benefit of hogging your cpu? Why would you prefer softmixing?

  2. Stoffe

    Rudolf, cards with hardware mixing is really really uncommon and aren’t really made at all since years back. Also, the CPU is not “hogged” as todays CPU’s are really good at that kind of thing. I don’t know why manufacturers stopped providing hardware mixing, but a guess would be that there was no benefit to speak of. If there was an actual demand, cards would definitely have the support…

    So in short, software works for “everyone”, hardware gives no benefits, better to focus on software, yes?

  3. Greg Gilbert

    I don’t prefer software mixing over hardware mixing, I prefer all my apps to be able to play audio when they need to without regard to what else may be running. Since every computer I’ve owned since around 2002 has needed software mixing to accomplish that, I’d rather have it work well.

  4. Sander

    Most people wouldn’t know whether they have software or hardware mixing anyway…. Something like PortAudio looks very promising.

  5. Andrew

    By the way, that image appears to be licenced under the CC-BY-SA-NC licence, not just CC-BY-SA.

    Also, having a licence for the copyright doesn’t mean you can use images of recognisable people for promotional purposes. You need a model release for that (and some other uses), otherwise you can be sued for things like defamation (e.g. for effectively claiming that that particular person likes a product/service).

    It’s complicated, and varies considerably by jurisdiction, but basically copyrights aren’t the only issue involved in publishing photographs of people. So a CC licence doesn’t automatically mean you can copy a photo of someone and use their likeness in any context you like.

    See e.g. http://www.danheller.com/model-release-primer.html and http://www.danheller.com/model-release (although they’re written mainly from the photographer’s perspective). And of course there’s a wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_release.

  6. Andrew: Thanks for the correction, I swear I copied the link directly from his page… not sure if it changed since I first grabbed the image but I updated it either way. The model release (for people) is mostly about privacy, which is mostly about expectations of being private. With the given CC license and a public posting of the image on flickr I would think it hard to expect much privacy assuming the license was respected. I agree that it still seems a very complicated gray area especially when it comes to things posted publicly online. Good points!

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This is the blog personality of Bryan Clark. I'm a designer in a world of open source. This blog reflects mostly writing about Design, Open Source, Economics, Beer, Wine, and Dogs. There's more information about me on this site or you can contact me directly at clarkbw@gmail.com.

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