Application Policy

The policy should be found in debian-multimedia package which contains the policy document and other misc goods for basic Debian Multimedia configuration.


The contents here are discussed in debian-multimedia mailing list.

configuring user/group settings

group 'audio': members will have access to audio hardware.

group 'video': members will have access to video hardware.

group 'cdrom': members will have access to CD-ROM/DVD-ROM hardware.

Known problems:

User permissions: These permissions are not configured automatically, so requires administrator intervention for every single user added to the system. 147518. By default users will not get video/audio device access and thus can't output audio or use 3D/XVideo(?) acceleration.

Realtime previlege support currently broken: Needs pam support 313588 326555

well-known device files


symbollic link to DVD device


symbollic link to CDROM device


symbollic link to default OSS device


symbollic link to default OSS device

sound input/output selection

When applications try to open a sound device, they should try to detect what sound output device is available. The priority of detection should be

  1. jack
  2. esd/arts/etc sound daemons
  3. alsa
  4. oss

and the applications should not start jack/esd/arts daemon themselves.

Currently discussed

Do we need to support all or just JACK/ALSA.

artsd supports JACK output

libjackasyn 'jacklaunch' allows OSS to JACK output.


When connecting to jack as jack client, applications should have a reasonable default output connection. (This point was discussed in linux-audio-user, and trying to guess a default output without knowing what it really is considered not too favorable)



When MIDI is supported, it should have a documented MIDI sequencer input/output device, documented in /usr/share/debian-multimedia/midi/{application} in XXX format


Users should be able to specify which ports applications should automagically connect to, configured in /etc/debian-multimedia/midi/XXXX

Example ways of invoking MIDI synthesizer server


timidity -B2,7 -Oj -iA

for the programming interface, it is documented in alsa documentation, which can be found in libasound2-doc package in Debian.

about the protocol, refer to external documentation. e.g.


packages should install LADSPA plugins in


and add a Provides: ladspa-plugin

packages supporting ladspa plugins should seek for LADSPA plugins in

/usr/local/lib/ladspa:/usr/lib/ladspa/ iff LADSPA_PATH is unset.

and add a Recommends: ladspa-plugin (or Depends)

Package names can be taken from upstream names. If the upstream name is ambiguous, or otherwise unsuitable for a Debian package name, the binary package should be named as:



A DSSI plugin is a LADSPA plugin, and should be packaged similarly to LADSPA plugin.

Currently the packages are named dssi-XXX-XXXX.


DSSI hosts


DSSI plugin? none are really packaged yet

DSSI maintainers, please fill in here.

LV2 (LADSPA successor)

See /LV2.

session handling (LASH)

LASH is deprecated as well as ladcca, please use ladish. liblash-compat-dev provides a dummy support for LASH, it is only for backward compatibility.

Here are some fledgling guidelines for packaging Pd-related projects for Debian.

Package Naming



Video Policy


video4linux2 is in the kernel since 2.5.x


Each framework (mplayer, xine, vlc, gstreamer) has its own codec system. A codec such as theora is implemented as its own library (libtheora), which is then wrapped up by each of the multimedia frameworks.

MPlayer (from upstream) usually expects to find win32 codec DLLs in /usr/local/lib/codecs.

Free codecs

Applications should be packaged to support free codecs wherever possible, such as Theora and dirac.

Current Problems

There is no viable standard input/output system for video.

Gstreamer currently fills that gap in most parts.

Analog Recording Plugins

FIXME: This should probably be moved to a discussion page ... I'm not sure what is meant by this. The answer is LADSPA or LV2 plugins, probably run within ardour or another multi-track recording/editing application. There are several apps in addition to ardour that can group inputs to be routed through a given effect.

Where can info be found for coding plugins for audio captured through a AD/DA converter. i.e. a recording of 8 mics on a drum set but need a compression effect plugin. I see tons of MIDI but can never find stuff like this.