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Alsa and tinyalsa plugins for the parameter-framework
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Alsa and tinyalsa plugins for the parameter-framework

These are plugins for the parameter-framework which allow to address alsa mixers and alsa devices.


You need to install the parameter-framework libraries and headers first (see the parameter-framework's README).

Generate the Makefiles with cmake . and build with make. If you installed the parameter-framework in a custom directory, you should add a -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/path/to/custom/install argument to cmake e.g: cmake -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/home/myself/dev/pfw . .

If you want to install the plugin to a custom directory, you can add a -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/path/to/install/dir argument to cmake e.g: cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/home/myself/dev/pfw . .

Finally, install the libraries with make install .

Note that only the alsa plugins are built, since tinyalsa's use outside of Android seems very limited.


  • Alsa C++ driver access library (the libclalsadrv2 package on Ubuntu)
  • Alsa utilities (the alsa-utils package on Ubuntu) for running the example.
  • An installed version of the parameter-framework


In this example, we are going to change the master volume of our Linux system.

We can observe the volume change with the alsamixer command. Here is an output example of our initial volume, which is at minimum value:

AlsaMixer initial view


Since the structure files are hardware dependant, The .xml files from the samples will not just work for your hardware configuration.

The card name and the control name are hardware specific information we need to control the volume of our Linux desktop via the parameter-framework.

Alsa card name

To find the card name, just read the content of /proc/asound/cards. Usually, you want the first card available. In the example, the card name is PCH.

Alsa Control name

To find the control we need, we can use the amixer utility. The amixer controls command shows every controls we can use via Alsa. In the example, the control we are using is 'Master Playback Volume'.

Parameter information

Now that we have the control name we are interested in, we can get some information about the parameter we need to describe. When typing:

amixer -c0 cget name='Master Playback Volume'

We get the following result:

numid=19,iface=MIXER,name='Master Playback Volume'
  ; type=INTEGER,access=rw---R--,values=1,min=0,max=64,step=0
  : values=64
  | dBscale-min=-64.00dB,step=1.00dB,mute=0

This can be used to retrieve useful information, such as:

  • The type (In the example the parameter is of Integer type)
  • The min/max values (In the example, the min=0 and the max=64)

Structures files used in the example

Now that we have the information we need, it is possible to fill in the required structure files.


In this file, just update the Location Folder, so that it points towards the directory where you installed the plugin.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<ParameterFrameworkConfiguration xmlns:xsi=""
    SystemClassName="Audio" TuningAllowed="true" ServerPort="5000">
        <!-- Path to your plugin folder, where the alsa plugin is installed -->
        <Location Folder="<path/to/your/plugin/directory/>">
            <Plugin Name=""/>
    <StructureDescriptionFileLocation Path="AudioStructure.xml"/>
        To go further and specify Settings, visit the wiki page.


This file is generic and does not need to be updated. If we have two sound cards, we could eventually include them both here.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<SystemClass xmlns:xsi=""
    <SubsystemInclude Path="AlsaSubsystem.xml"/>


Here we have to create our own parameter:

  • Which type is an Integer.
  • Which Min=0 and Max=64.

We also need to specify the Card name here. As a reminder, our card is named PCH.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<Subsystem xmlns:xsi=""
    Name="alsa" Type="ALSA" Endianness="Little">
        <ComponentType Name="VolumeMixer">
            <!-- Our volume parameter is linked with an alsa control called 'Master Playback Volume' -->
            <!-- Retrieve the parameter information with an cget command on your control -->
            <IntegerParameter Name="volume" Size="8" Min="0" Max="64"
                              Mapping="Control:'Master Playback Volume'"/>
        <!-- Our mixer is on the 'PCH' card, the name can be found in /proc/asound/cards -->
        <Component Name="master" Type="VolumeMixer" Mapping="Card:PCH"/>

Theses samples are also available on the samples GitHub

Copy the files one next to the other in your current directory.

Add a bash alias to talk to the parameter-framework

For readability purposes, we use the following alias:

alias pfw='remote-process localhost 5000'

Tell your system where to link

If you encounter link errors, you should tell your shell where the libraries required for remote-process and test-platform can be found:

# The default installation path is in /usr/local/lib
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib/

Running the example

Step 1: Run the test-platform

First of all we must simulate a platform. In order to do that, we can use the test-platform executable from the parameter-framework.

test-platform ./ParameterFrameworkConfiguration.xml 5426

It should not provide any output. As specified, it is waiting on port 5426 for commands.

Step 2: Start the test-platform

To tell the test-platform to start the parameter-framework, we can use remote-process, which is also available after building the parameter-framework.

remote-process localhost 5426 start

This should provide a result similar to this one:

Loading {
    Loading framework configuration {
        Tuning allowed
    } Loading framework configuration
    Loading subsystem plugins {
        Attempting to load subsystem plugin path "/home/myself/dev/pfw/lib/"
        All subsystem plugins successfully loaded
    } Loading subsystem plugins
    Loading Audio system class structure
    Importing system structure from file ./AudioStructure.xml {
        Loading ./Alsa.xml {
        } Loading ./Alsa.xml
    } Importing system structure from file ./AudioStructure.xml
    Loading settings {
    } Loading settings
    Main blackboard back synchronization {
    } Main blackboard back synchronization
    Criterion states {
    } Criterion states
    Applying configurations {
    } Applying configurations
    Handling remote processing interface {
        Loading remote processor library
        Starting remote processor server on port 5000
    } Handling remote processing interface
} Loading

Step 3: List the available parameters

Now that the parameter-framework is up and running, we can list the available parameters.

pfw listParameters /

Which should answer us with /Audio/alsa/master/volume.

Step 4: Allow the user to tune the values

To be able to change the volume parameter, we must tell the parameter-framework to turn the tuning mode on.

pfw setTuningMode on

Step 5: Change the volume via the parameter-framework

Finally, we can change the volume with by setting the volume parameter:

pfw setParameter /Audio/alsa/master/volume 64

Which should reply us by a Done

Since we set the volume to 64, which is the maximum allowed value, we can observe the change in the AlsaMixer utility:

AlsaMixer result

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