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One of the most important emerging developments for improving the user/computer interface has been the addition of multimedia facilities to high-performance workstations. Although the mention of multimedia I/O often conjures up visions of moving images, talking text and electronic music, multimedia I/O is not synonymous with interface bells and whistles. Instead, multimedia should be synonymous with the synchronization of bells and whistles so that application programs can integrate data from a broad spectrum of independent sources (including those with strict timing requirements). This paper considers the role of the operating system (in general) and UNIX (in particular) in supporting multimedia synchronization. The first section reviews the requirements and characteristics that are inherent to the problem of synchronizing a number of otherwise autonomous data sets.
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