Friday, January 23, 2009

Boomer Updates

Just a quick note: no Boomer beta release this week. Due to a bug which we fixed in ON, but which we are dependent upon, there won't be any formal beta release until after SXCE b107 ships. And it will depend on SXCE b107. (And likewise, when the OpenSolaris package repos are updated to use b107, you'll be able to use OpenSolaris and Boomer together.)

I probably will post an updated code review, and possibly BFU archives, for the folks that want to play with these bits earlier and are willing to deal with BFU. (Hmmm.. does BFU work correctly on OpenSolaris? I've only used it on SXCE.) That posting will probably occur on Monday or Tuesday of next week. Stay tuned.

(Is there any interest in an external Mercurial repo for this stuff? I hadn't been planning on one, but if folks want one and will use it, I'll look into it.)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Boomer Status Update

I've received a number of e-mails inquiring about Boomer, the next generation audio system for Solaris. I thought I'd take moment to snapshot where we're at.

The good news:

  • We're very nearly done with Phase I. There are still a couple of bugs to fix but its looking very promising that we'll have a strong public Beta release later this month, with integration into ON in February or March.
  • The release will include multichannel surround across a fairly wide range of devices.
  • All the existing Sun audio drivers are supported (except Sun Ray)
  • All the drivers except usb are "native" Boomer drivers, with greatly reduced complexity and (hopefully) much better reliability
  • We have much better support for adjusting different device settings, either from the CLI or from a GUI. This includes surround settings, special device features (such as 3D enhancements), and even jack retasking on certain codecs. (You can even use this to have 5.1 audio on an older Sun Ultra 20!)
  • We also have full support for Solaris features like suspend/resume and quiesce.

The not-so-good news:
  • There are some features that will be MIA. SPDIF (digital out) support is very limited, only working with audiohd at present.
  • We don't have as many new drivers (yet) as we had hoped.
  • Dolby Digital (AC3) support has been pushed out to Phase 2.
  • Support for Sun Ray is Phase 2 as well.
  • Support for "virtual audio" (where the /dev/audio and /dev/dsp are virtual devices that seamlessly choose the "correct" audio device, and redirect audio in response to hotplug events -- even for running applications) is looking questionable for Phase I, it may be a Phase 2 item as well.
  • At the moment, all of our drivers run at 48kHz and use 16-bit audio. We can update (and probably will update) some of them to support codecs that have additional bit width or higher frequency options, but this can be done on an as needed basis. (So far the vast majority of devices out there support only 48 kHz/16-bit audio, anyway.)