HelixPlayer with ALSA support

First I have to admit: until soak explained it to me very patient and with easy words, I didn’t exactly get the difference between a sound server one the one hand, and alsa’s mixing structure on the other hand. I thought, for example, that artsd blocks all accesses to aslsa made from other devices – which is complete garbage. While artsd is using alsa, every other application can use alsa also.

The problems do arise when apps are comming up which are using oss. Examples for this are skype, flash and RealPlayer/HelixPlayer.

After I got what alsa exactly improves, compared to OSS, I wondered about how someone could write a program in these days which still supported OSS – whatfor? But, well, the first two are closed source, so the programmer behind it is probably insane or something, so nothing to waste to much time thinking about.
But the last application is based on an open source framework: the helix player is developed as an open source system, so why was there OSS support only?

Well, I do not know, but I guess it is a relict of the closed source client which was opened up to build helix player. So the first version was nice, was open source, but still had a lot of typical disadvantages (like OSS support instead of ALSA support).
Btw.: is there any important closed source app for Linux normal users use in their daily live, which has Alsa support yet? Why not?
Anyway, I thought about Alsa support in HelixPlayer, and looked around. Eventually I got on the HelixPlayer development site, and found a plan of features which they want to integrate. And see: Alsa support is planned!
So I checked the nightly build (which is provided in a friendly rpm package), and tested it – and it works! Just out of the box, without any problems!
Not like the old versions, where you were not able to hear any sound or something.

So we just have to wait – quite a lot of time, I’m afraid, because the theora-video support was broken in this release, but nevertheless: the future will come along with a RealPlayer which just integrates into the Linux desktop without any bigger problems. Nice work, guys 🙂

And, about skype and flash: flash 8.5 will be released short afterthe release for win/mac, and there are rumors that they try to implement some more sound support than oss, so we can hope for alsa in this case…
The rumors that there is a skype version with alsa support quite soon are almost a year old. I think in this case the most hope is lost because it pretty much looks like they’ve dropped the linux support completly. The yum repository has never been updated to work with Fedora Core 4, and there are no signs that even the smalles bugs are fixed. Actually there are already small hacks around which are fixing some minor bugs, instead of getting fixed by skype.
Well, that’s sad, but I try to switch completly to SIP in these days, so nothing really bad for me… just sad.

Let’s see what is happening when Jabber and jingle are running nice, maybe we will see real cool support for VoIP from the Free front then 🙂


2 thoughts on “HelixPlayer with ALSA support”

  1. Hi. I got a nightly build of Helix Player from the helixcommunity.org website, dated 19-04-2006. You said you got a nightly build that had ALSA support natively. Which version was this? Thanks.

  2. All night builds I got had this support, including the one you mentioned.

    You should check: Tools -> Preferences -> Hardware and there will be the audio drivers listed, including ALSA and OSS.

    If there is no ALSA listed for your player, check if ALSA is installed on your system.

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