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Espeak and pulseaudio conflicts


First of all, sorry for cross-posting, I know this should be avoided,
but I'm experiencing almost identical problems with emacspeak and
speakup, so I thought it would make sense. 

My situation: I'm running debian testing and have just installed
pulseaudio. I installed the various packages and created a
/etc/asound.conf file which looks like this:
pcm.pulse { 
    type pulse
ctl.pulse {
     type pulse
pcm.!default {
    type pulse
ctl.!default {
    type pulse

Next I set pulseaudio to system mode so that root applications can have
sound such as speakup and brltty tones. 

Now my problem: 
When I use either emacspeak with espeak driver  or speakup with espeakup
I experience these problems:
* Regular crashes to the point where speakup is unusable (one every 30
seconds approximately) and one every few minutes with emacspeak/espeak. 
* Choppy speech with emacspeak/espeak and speakup/easpeak i.e. the end
of lines are stripped such as the final letter of the word. 

I tried to build espeak with only pulseaudio by changing the
AUDIO=portaudio line to 
AUDIO = pulseaudio 
However, nothing changed - I still have the same problems. 

If I run espeak from the terminal here are the errors I get. (I also
hear similar errors voiced by speakup, but this method was easier to
capture them). It probably happens with emacspeak too, but I haven't
been able to pick them up. 
The errors from running espeak on the command line eg. "espeak hello" 
ALSA lib pcm_dmix.c:1018:(snd_pcm_dmix_open) unable to open slave
ALSA lib pcm.c:2217:(snd_pcm_open_noupdate) Unknown PCM cards.pcm.rear
ALSA lib pcm.c:2217:(snd_pcm_open_noupdate) Unknown PCM cards.pcm.center_lfe
ALSA lib pcm.c:2217:(snd_pcm_open_noupdate) Unknown PCM cards.pcm.side
ALSA lib pcm_dmix.c:957:(snd_pcm_dmix_open) The dmix plugin supports only playback stream
ALSA lib pcm_dmix.c:1018:(snd_pcm_dmix_open) unable to open slave

Note that espeak does speak the string "hello", but these errors seem

Also, all gnome gui applications, mplayer orca/speech-dispatcher are
working perfectly through pulseaudio. 

If anyone has any ideas or advice for what to try next I would be very

Thank you in advance. 


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