>pulseaudio: Finally, you seems to not like pulseaudio, and either you have issues with it ( and maybe that's not pulseaudio ), or maybe you think there is no use to the feature ( like saner mixer defaults ). It is hard to answer without you being more specific, but if you didn't liked having video driver in the kernel, you surely would prefer to have all the features of pulseaudio ( per application mixer, bluetooth support, streaming support, ease of use to change sound output for video card with hdmi output, music being stopped when you get a soft-phone call ), being out of the kernel ( and alsa ) as well. Maybe you don't care about the features, but I am rather happy to have my hardware working ( bluetooth ).
No, exactly opposite, i enjoy pulseaudio. Especially for it's original purpose - transferring sound over the network. It's best tool available for this task, and i am using it for to centralize my home sound.
Ah, dynamic changing of output card. You right, anyway some entity needed to implement this kind of functionality. Thanks for description, didn't thought about it.