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Re: espeak, pulseAudio and ALSA. Success!

Thank you for an excellent summary, Tim. PulseAudio has been on my list of
projects to investigate for quite a while, but it has stayed there due to the
complications you describe.

The most I can add are minor comments.

1. If you're familiar with Git, I would suggest installing the etckeeper
package to track changes to configuration files. Emacs has excellent support
for Git as of version 23. The etckeeper package is available for Debian; I
assume it is likely to have entered the Ubuntu repository as well.

2. Real-time scheduling under Linux is the subject of ongoing kernel
development, which, if ultimately integrated, will lead to significant change.
There has for example been discussion, documented at Linux Weekly News
(http://lwn.net/Articles/378044/) of introducing a deadline CPU scheduler for
real-time processes.

3. I agree with your general conclusion that it will take time for Linux
distributors to address all of the pertinent configuration problems, and for
hardware-dependent issues to be solved. Unlike conventional UNIX development,
where the operating system maintainer was typically also the hardware vendor,
Linux is designed to be compatible with a very wide range of environments,
from mobile phones to super-computers and with numerous combinations of
components. I am sure this considerably magnifies the difficulty of the
development effort, even without taking account of the fact that some hardware
manufacturers are uncooperative, though this appears to be somewhat less
common now than it used to be. PulseAudio has gained a reputation,
acknowledged by its authors, for exposing driver and hardware-related bugs.

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