Re: [ecasound] Ecasound.NET

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Subject: Re: [ecasound] Ecasound.NET
From: Kai Vehmanen (
Date: Sat Jun 29 2002 - 14:42:36 EEST

On Fri, 28 Jun 2002, Bill Allen wrote:

> Just a question: why wouldn't you want to use CORBA? As far as I can see,
> the idl would map nicely to ECI. The advantage is that the interface would

In theory it sounds nice, but in practise the simplified approach just
works better. CORBA (and other similar mechanisms) is good when you need
to provide access to a large set of components or to some extremely large
single service. In all other cases the required initial effort for client
development is just too much. Actually it's not a problem to write a CORBA
interface to ECI. But I'm pretty sure you will never see any apps using

Hmm, one very good practical example is shell scripts. I need to write
quite a lot of them as I'm responsible for maintaining a few heavily used
Linux servers. For a long time I've thought that I should start writing
these things in python. But for some reason I'm still writing them using
bash even though I'm really not a good bash script writer. Python
requires just _little_ more initial effort (importing modules, making
system() calls, file access using fopen/fread/fwrite), but that's enough
to keep me bash'ing even though I really like python.

ECI is a simple API, and for it to be used, the initial effort needed to
write an ECI app must be ultra-low. Currently it's a big problem that you
need to install extensions (pyeca for python, libecasoundc for C,
Audio::Ecasound for perl) to write ECI apps. As a matter of fact, I've
written way too many ecasound scripts in bash! :)

Anyways, the kind of people who have patience to learn CORBA (for to use
in project X) are very likely to skip ecasound and libecasound altogether
and write their own media frameworks. DCOP and Bonobo are possibly better
options as KDE and GNOME developers have worked _hard_ to make these
technologies more easier to approach.

To give some perspective, writing a simple TCP-client in python is only a
screenful of code. You don't really need any middleware to communicate if
these smtp/http/ftp style simple protocols are used (and the plan is to
use one in NetECI). And as good side, you don't have to mess with any
libraries or language extensions. All it takes is a working 'ecasound'
executable and some version of python/perl. No worries about versions or
library dependencies! Now it's still too much for many people (who never
write scripts or only very simple .bat-style sh-scripts), but I think this
is a step in the right direction. I guess the NetECI marketing line could
be KIISS - Keep It Insanely Simple, Stupid! :D (...extending the famous

Ok, but to step back a bit, I really don't have anything against a CORBA
implementation. It's just that I don't see much use for it.

 Kai Vehmanen (
 Webmaster, Wakkanet Oy

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