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Re: espeak, pulseAudio and ALSA. Success!



Hi Jason,

thanks for the feedback. Some brief comments below. 

 > 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.
 >
Good pointer. I use to use RCS for this, but have not yet got around to
setting somethig up on this box yet. I've wanted an excuse to get use to git,
so this might be it. 

 
 > 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.
 >
Yes. Much of the confusion I ran into with getting pulseaudio working is due
to recent new features in the 2.6.31 kernel that affects this area. There is a
section on the kernel.org site dealing with realtime scheduling. I suspect
things will become 'richer' in this area with newer versions of the kernel. 

 
 > 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.
 >
Yes. It was sad to note that recently I saw something that indicated NVIDIA is
pulling out of supporting drivers for Linux. Some of the sound card vendors
have been even less supportive. All of this makes it very hard to get things
working reliably 'out of the box'. 

What I'm very pleased about is that, despite the hassle, I was able to get a
pulseaudio configuration working. It takes a bit of work and there are a lot
of variables that make it very hard to provide a simple recipe. Unfortunately,
this has given pulse a bit of a bad name, which it probably doesn't deserve. I
do think pulseAudio can really improve utility of sound on Linux and hope that
more people begin to put in the effort to get things working and they
communicate their successes to help others.  

Tim

-- 
Tim Cross
tcross@rapttech.com.au

There are two types of people in IT - those who do not manage what they 
understand and those who do not understand what they manage.
-- 
Tim Cross
tcross@rapttech.com.au

There are two types of people in IT - those who do not manage what they 
understand and those who do not understand what they manage.

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