Hello. Found this thread through a discussion in #openal on Freenode. :)
|Original post by Roots|
I don't think OpenAL is dead. Its just somewhat stagnant and slow developing because of Creative's tight grip over it.
I wouldn't even say that. It's somewhat stagnant sure, but the very latest open source sources have always been available from their SVN repo. As it says on the downloads page, first thing under the OpenAL Source Code heading:
The very latest Linux/Unix version, based off the original Loki implementation, is there (under OpenAL-Sample), as well as the Apple-controlled OSX code (whether or not it's the actual code as shipped with the Mac, I have no idea), and the latest Creative-controlled Windows code (before it closed up). Even FreeALUT is there (under alut). All of it under the LGPL.. except the OSX version which actually seems to be under an X11-like license.
The only thing stopping anyone from working on it (improving the code, creating extensions) is that no one wants to.
|Also I don't think its easy to contribute to the OpenAL source unless you work at Creative, and do only the things that Creative wants you to do with the code.|
Not entirely true. I can't say the same about the Windows or OSX code, but ever since Loki went belly-up, the Linux/Unix code (the "Sample Implementation") has been an entirely open-source community driven project. The only direct ties Creative has with it are that, besides controlling the core API, the mailing list and repo used for its development are on their servers. But no one's prevented from trying to move it elsewhere if there was a benefit from doing so, and they could convince the maintainers (who don't work at Creative, btw).
When I started with the OpenAL code, I initially tried to work on cleaning up the SI. The only troubles I had with submitting patches was that the maintainers were very busy and don't have much time to dedicate to OpenAL. But even still, because I was doing so much work on it, after a few months the maintainers asked if I wanted write access to the SVN repo. I said sure, and after Daniel Peacock (the guy at Creative in charge of the SVN repo's access control) came back from his vacation, I got it. No hassles.
I've since decided that the SI is more or less a lost cause, which is what lead me to fork the original Windows code as a pet project. And while I have no intention of moving development of OpenAL Soft away from repo.or.cz (I like GIT too much), it's likely that Creative's OpenAL repo, which I still have write access to, will hold a mirror of the main development branch of OpenAL Soft as the "new" SI. I've also been told that Creative would likely have no problems hosting downloads of the SI at openal.org, as releases are tagged and put together (the last release, 0.0.8, is there).
As for EAX/EFX, IP, and patents, last I knew, Creative is under a will-not-enforce agreement of its patents against open source projects. I have expressed my desire for implementing EFX in OpenAL Soft multiple times on their mailing list, and they've never said I can't or shouldn't. Though if you need/want to go commercial, I don't know the situation (eg. if you're allowed to use a lib that implements EFX, as long as your product doesn't use it; it'd be kind of silly to not allow that, though).
|1.1 is the version of the current OpenAL specification, and 0.0.8 is AFAIK the version of their (SI?) implementation.|
0.0.8 is the release version of the SI, which implements most, but not all, of the 1.1 spec. The two numbers have no other correlation. (OpenAL Soft implements all of the 1.1 spec, btw).
And an interesting idea to toss out there, for those who want to see OpenAL evolve.. perhaps some people could get together to form an not-for-profit open-source Foundation or Group specializing in audio design and APIs, and ask Creative if they can help control the API and feature set as it goes into the future. Who knows.. I'm sure Creative is feeling a nice pinch from consumers not caring much about audio cards these days, and not being near the top in the professional market. Perhaps someone to help push the OpenAL API forward is something they want, and that we'd all benefit from.
- Chris, OpenAL Soft maintainer