[lsb-discuss] ALSA (libasound) inclusion in LSB

Denis Silakov silakov at ispras.ru
Mon Oct 29 09:01:23 PDT 2007

The new release of the LSB specification database contains data about
libasound interfaces. The data is based on alsa 1.0.13 from openSUSE
10.2 x86-64.

Database contains all interfaces found in libasound on openSUSE 10.2.

1) The final step is to decide which interfaces should be actually
included in the LSB.

The document attached should help to make this decision - it shows which
interfaces are used by applications, which are provided by distributions (note that there are 26 distributions in the database at the moment)
and which are documented ('documented' here means that there is an
appropriate interface description on

We suggest adding to LSB all interfaces actually used by at least one application and only them. All of them except one are present in all distributions, and that one is missing in old distributions only (RHEL 4, Asianux 2.0 and Debian 3.1). All such interfaces have documentation (except starting with '__' - see below).

2) The document contains three columns about interface versions. The thing
is that alsa sources contain instructions for linker which version
should be assigned to every interface. However, it seems that this
assigning is broken - version list contains values from ALSA_0.9 up to
ALSA_1.0.14 in the latest release, but in the compiled library there are
no binary symbols with versions ALSA_1.0.4 and higher. All interfaces
that should have such versions according to alsa sources, actually have
'ALSA_0.9' version. (And if you take a look on distributions and their
alsa interfaces, you will find no interfaces with versions starting with

Three columns mentioned contain actual interface version (as 'readelf'
reports), version which the interface should have according to alsa
sources and the third column simply shows if these two versions are equal.

So the question is which versions should be assigned to interfaces which should have 'ALSA_1.*' version according to alsa sources and should such interfaces be included in LSB at all? From application usage point of view, there are only 2 interfaces used by apps with such versions problem. We suggest to add both with 'ALSA_0.9' version, as they are provided by distributions.

3) Note also that there are some binary interfaces starting with '__' which
are not documented directly. These interfaces appear on binary level
only and it seems that they appear after some manipulations with
interfaces  with the same names but without '__'. (This is a rough
explanation; it would be nice if someone explain in details where such
interfaces come from). Such interfaces are not marked as documented, but
appropriate interfaces without leading '__' have documentation.

Some of these interfaces are widely used, so we suggest to include them in the specification. If suggestions above are right, then for every such interface included in the specification a separate page should be created noticing that this is a BinOnly interface and that it behaves as the interface without '__'.

4) A short summary of the document attached:
   - total interfaces uploaded - 1694
   - 471 interfaces are used by applications; among these interfaces:
       - 56 start with '__' (see comment above)
       - 2 (snd_pcm_hw_params_set_rate_resample and
snd_asoundlib_version) have 'ALSA_0.9' version while they should have
other versions according to alsa sources;
       - all interfaces were found in all modern distributions uploaded to the database
       - 2 (snd_config_substitute and snd_config_search_alias_hooks)
were not found in alsa headers and their names do not start with '__'.

Thus, the following questions remain (and we would appreciate community opinion on these):
1) Is it reasonable to use the inclusion criterion based on actual usage by apps?
2) Which interfaces should be actually included in the LSB? 3) What's
wrong with versions assigning during alsa build process? 4) Where
interfaces starting with '__' come from and how they should be handled?


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