On Fri, Feb 21, 2003 at 09:00:29AM -0600, Brian Henning wrote:
> I noticed that is FBSD4.7 that when i am using the sound device in one process
> that the system blocks that device so no other processes can use the sound
> device until that process is killed. I know that in windows 2000 that is not
> the case, it lets multilple processes have control of the sound device at the
> same time. Is there a way to make FBSD4.7 have this functionality? Does this
> question make any sense?

Do you mean you get the "device busy" or whatever the message is? Unfortunately
I don't think you can do much about that. If a piece of software opens /dev/dsp
when it starts and doesn't close it until it finishes then nothing else will
be able to write to /dev/dsp.

Have a look at:


for some info on how to set up "virtual channels".  This is a way of having
several dsp devices (/dev/dsp0.x where x is between 0 and some maximum that
you specify) that are multiplixed through the one physical dsp device.  Then
you should set your various pieces of software to use different dsp devices
(e.g. xmms might use /dev/dsp0.0, your window manager's sound server might use
/dev/dsp0.1, etc).

If you've got an SBLive (or probably any modern sound card) they you actually
have around 48 hardware channels (i.e. 48 channels similar to the vchans
mentioned above, except that they're mixed on the hardware device, freeing up
the CPU).  Unfortunately I don't think the current SBLive driver for FreeBSD
supports utilising more than one hardware channel (current meaning even the
one in 5.0).  I think the way the OSS and ALSA drivers do it (I can't remember
which - one of them does it this way at the very least) is to allow /dev/dsp
to be opened multiple times.

I'm going to have a look at putting this support in soon (or at least try to
understand what's going on in the current driver - maybe it's in there already;
I've never done any kernel hacking before).


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