Loki Brings 3D Sound to 3D Vision
Scott Draeker, president of Loki Entertainment Software, said, "What SGI's OpenGL has done for 3D-Video, OpenAL will do for 3D-Audio."
For Linux gamers, the better it gets, the better it must become. As 3D gaming has opened up increasingly for Linux, what has lagged behind the eye-popping visual element is similarly ear-bending audio. Because the audio libraries for Macintosh and Windows games are both proprietary (closed-source) and incompatible with the Linux operating system, opportunities for state-of-the-art 3D sound for Linux-native and Linux-ported games were scarce. In fact, Loki noted in a press statement that before OpenAL, the initiative the company is spear-heading, there was no standard 3D-audio implementation available for Linux. Thus, the decision to develop an audio API that is both cross-platform and open source is a significant breakthrough for all gamers.
"OpenAL represents a milestone for Linux and for the game industry in general," said Mr. Draeker. "Until now, games running on Linux have not had access to the advanced 3D-Audio features available on other platforms. OpenAL provides those advanced features with an open source, non-proprietary implementation which is available not just for Linux, but for Windows and MacOS games as well."
What good is 3D-Audio? Most basically, 3D-Audio increases the level of realism in any game, with specialized sound effects such as distance and direction attenuation, as well as panning and reverb effects. But, as Mr. Draeker points out, the benefits of 3D-Audio extend beyond the world of computer gaming. "For example," he notes, "an architectural program might allow you to walk through a new building. OpenAL would allow the walk-through to be audible, not just visual. So you would get a sense of the acoustics of the building. You'll be able to tell whether sound from the downstairs TV is going to reflect loudly into an upstairs bedroom and hear the acoustical difference between using carpet and tile in a hallway."
Creative Technology is one of the companies that has joined Loki Entertainment in launching the OpenAL initiative. The company has said it plans to release Linux drivers that will not only work with OpenAL, but will natively support the advanced audio effects made possible through OpenAL. Said Creative's Director of the Custom Engineering division Jacob Hawley, "This API will help content developers provide robust applications on Linux and other leading platforms, opening new markets for hardware vendors such as Creative in the process."
Creative Technology currently supports OpenAL with Eagle, "a kind of 3D-Audio authoring tool" allowing users to draw sounds in a 3D environment.
Corel Corporation is the third member of the OpenAL creation and authoring committee, and the company is looking to include OpenAL as a standard component of Corel Linux. This step would be the necessary "lowering of the bar" for users who simply want to buy a prepackaged distribution, install it and go, without having to worry about configuring or compiling the software.
Loki says OpenAL is already being incorporated into what it calls its line of "AAA Linux games". The Linux version of Activision's Heavy Gear II, for example, will be released this month. It is the first Linux game to support 3D-Audio using OpenAL.
Says Mr. Draeker, "OpenAL completes the list of tools needed to play games on Linux. There will continue to be improvements, but the feature set is now more or less complete. Developing games for Linux requires additional tools which aren't yet available for Linux, like 3D animation packages. Such content creation tools are the next step, and OpenAL is already opening those doors."
The source code for OpenAL for Linux, Macintosh and Windows is available for download and is being offered under the GNU Library Public License (LGPL). More details are available at http://www.openal.org.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide