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Re: Almost decent working standard packaged emacspeak/eflite on Debian 7.2



Hi Jerry,

I'm surprised you have had so many problems getting eSpeak and libtclespeak.so built on Debian. For me, this is usually very straight-forward. One trick on apt based systems which often helps is to use the build-dep option to ensure you have all the necessary dependencies installed. For example, apt-get build-up espeak should install all the dev libs and tools necessary to build espeak and more importantly, the libs necessary to link against the espeak libs i.e. for libtclespeak.so. 

Tim
 
--
Tim Cross
IT Security Manager, Information Technology
University of New England
Armidale N.Sl.W. 2350

Email: tcross@une.edu.au
Phone: +61 2 6773 3210
Mobile: +61 428 212 217

On 07/11/2013, at 11:51 AM, Jerry Sievers <gsievers19@comcast.net> wrote:

> Tim, some very good points down there and I do realize that my stubborn
> reluctance to go graphical is becoming more and more of a
> liability... which of course led me to take a bit of action and get in
> here today for some opinions.
> 
> The decision to start from a straight DEbian Wheezie distro was
> motivated by a desire to run on a system matching the many that I
> support here as a Postgres DBA.
> 
> Anyway, I'm aware from what yourself and others are saying lately that
> there's a lot of accessibility now in Linux GUIs that I'm not configured
> to take advantage of, and as soon as it's possible for me to invest time
> and/or money in getting there, it will be a quantum leap.
> 
> 
> I just spent a couple hours without success trying to compile the
> libtclespeak.so for this box that I'm running on as if to test espeak
> and as I had feared, it doesn't work out of the box and after a few
> iterations of installing necessary dev packages and editing of the
> makefile to change include paths, there is still a linker error in what
> I presume is a late stage of the build.
> 
> So, I'll keep at it but  have sadly learned over time that this kind of
> struggle  is all too typical.
> 
> Thanks
> 
> Tim Cross <tcross@une.edu.au> writes:
> 
>> Hi Jerry,
>> 
>> I understand where you are coming from and the need to get the system to a productive level as quickly as you can. From what you say, I would suggest that you might want to look at one of the specialist distributions, such as vinux. One of the difficulties we face is the old chicken and egg issue - we need speech in order to setup the system, but to have speech, we need the system to be setup. Some of the specialist distributions work really hard to provide a more VI friendly installation process which aims to get things working as quickly as possible. 
>> 
>> There have been a lot of improvements in the accessibility area over the last few years. I find Orca to be more usable than before, though it will always have challenges due to developers not including the required accessibility libraries etc. The combination of google chrome with chromeVox has really made a difference with respect to accessible web browsing on Linux (and Mac or Windows). 
>> 
>> Some years back, I agreed with everyone who found running without a GUI as the most productive solution for blind and VI users. However, as things have improved, I am no longer convinced that is as true as it once was. While text interfaces, such as emacs, are still extremely usable, the reality is that we do need to collaborate with others who have the disability of full sight and over dependency on their visual senses. It isn't easy for many of these poor souls who need additional visual candy in order to express and comprehend ideas. We need to try and find ways to work with them in a medium they can comprehend. Too often, this means a limited GUI environment which can provide those additional visual clues which are unnecessary for the rest of us. 
>> 
>> I find three tools which are essential for operating collaboratively in a work environment:
>> 
>> 	- Emacs and emacspeak. This provides about 70% of my working environment. I run under X (Using either GNOME or something like the lisp based stump window manager). While it can be difficult to get this setup correctly for a blind user, with some persistence and maybe a little sighted help, it can pay dividends in the long term. 
>> 
>> 	- Chrome and ChromeVox. The work environment is increasingly relying on software as a service and outs sourced IT infrastructure. A lot of this relies on web interfaces and usually requires javascript. I love w3m and even w3, but they just don't cut it in a modern environment. Chrome and chromeVox provide a great solution. Like most solutions, it is not perfect, but it is pretty darn good. 
>> 
>> 	- VirtualBox with Windows VM. While I hate it and will avoid it as much as possible, the reality is that in order to interact with many enterprise systems, either Windows or OS X is required. When I have no other choice, I will run a Windows VM and use the excellent NVDA screen reader. 
>> 
>> My point with the above rambling is that in order to have the last two, chrome and virtual box, I need a Linux system with GUI support. In order to run these in parallel, with hot keys which allow me to switch between emacspeak, chrome and virtual box and have the sound working under all three without conflict and resource contention and with the ability to set different volumes for each, I need pulseAudio. With this setup, I am able to interact and collaborate with my unfortunate co-workers afflicted with full sight and their limited ability to utilise their other senses. It does mean a fair amount of additional work on our part, but I think it is only reasonable for us to try and help the less fortunate whenever we can. 
>> 
>> I'm now trying an experiment with a new environment. I'm no using OS X with emacspeak and voiceOver. So far, I'm finding it a pretty nice environment. Unlike MS Windows, it is an environment which most blind and vi users can setup from scratch without any assistance. I still find it necessary to use a virtual machine with windows and nvda for things like excel and some word documents (those using a lot of tables etc), but most of the time, emacspeak, chrome and occasionally safari provide an environment which is incredibly accessible and supporting of collaboration with co-workers. The only downside with OS X is the initial expense. However, I'm very lucky that my employer was willing to support me with all the hardware I needed. 
>> 
>> The setup and configuration of a GUI based Linux setup with sufficient support to enable blind and vi users to be productive is still challenging and it is likely that the first time, you will need some sighted assistance. However, I think the effort is worth it, especially as it will likely make you even more productive in a work environment in the long-term. Sticking with just a text based environment will see you left behind and require more and more allowances from your employer. At some point, this will likely become and issue and a tipping point will be reached where the value you bring is not sufficient to compensate for the allowances which need to be made. It is critical for all of use to try and ensure the allowances are low enough to make the valuable contributions we bring as obvious as possible. 
>> 
>> good luck
>> 
>> Tim
>> 
>> P.S. I believe that Raman also uses a GUI environment based on the stump window manager. Don't forget to check out the tar directory in emacspeak for some valuable configuration settings which may make it easier to get things setup correctly. 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> --
>> Tim Cross
>> IT Security Manager, Information Technology
>> University of New England
>> Armidale N.Sl.W. 2350
>> 
>> Email: tcross@une.edu.au
>> Phone: +61 2 6773 3210
>> Mobile: +61 428 212 217
>> 
>> On 07/11/2013, at 10:00 AM, Jerry Sievers <gsievers19@comcast.net> wrote:
>> 
>>> Hi Tim.  Remarks below...
>>> 
>>> Tim Cross <tcross@une.edu.au> writes:
>>> 
>>>> I agree. I use to have problems with pulse audio and speak, but that
>>>> was some time ago with earlier versions of pulse audio which had
>>>> problems with some sound cards - particularly emu10k1 based cards. I
>>>> also found that speak worked much better provided it was compiled to
>>>> use pulse audio rather than port audio.
>>> 
>>> Upon first installing Debian on this new laptop, I went ahead with the
>>> full graphical install and that did include Pulse Audio and whatever
>>> else.  And then was intrigued with Orca and enabled it but found it to
>>> be utterly useless and at this point,. emacspeak didn't work at all or
>>> worked for just a few seconds and thus the box not going to be useful.
>>> 
>>> Running emacspeak is priority #1 and so I went ahead with the same
>>> procedure that got eflite working satisfactorily on setting up another
>>> laptop a few years earlier.  This was to remove Pulse Audio from the
>>> system with no regard for whatever else would stop working along with
>>> it.
>>> 
>>> In fact, the Gnome desktop packages are still installed but no longer
>>> configured to start at boot due to them being retained for good measure
>>> but os of little value to me.
>>> 
>>> The aforementioned brute-force approach did result in the emacspeak
>>> working well enough to begin using.
>>> 
>>>> Although removing all pulseaudio from the system is an option, I would
>>>> not recommend it. Like it or not, it is the direction that Linux has
>>>> decided to take for sound infrastructure and you will find increasing
>>>> difficulty and loss of functionality without pulseaudio installed.
>>> 
>>> Agreed but as already mentioned, emacspeak was the priority and anything
>>> else that was working too just an added bonus.
>>> 
>>> As a user of both a Mac with Voice Over and a Jaws/Windows system, I'm
>>> skeptical that the graphical Linux environment is anywhere close to
>>> overall functionality of these other 2 but will be glad to realize my
>>> assumption is wrong... not even going to try finding out as long as they
>>> conflict with emacspeak.
>>> 
>>>> I do think that pulseaudio can be a bit of a resource hog and it
>>>> certainly seems to perform much better on 64 bit systems than 32
>>>> bit. Therefore, I would only consider removing pulseaudio on older and
>>>> slower hardware.
>>>> 
>>>> As to eflite, I'm not sure how well it is being maintained. Most
>>>> people seem to have gone with eSpeak rather than flite. I would
>>>> suggest trying eSpeak and see if that works better for you. However,
>>>> my favourite speech server for Linux is still 32 bit ViaVoice. While
>>>> this can be a bit of a pain to get working on a 64 bit system, it is
>>>> not too bad - especially if you use the oralux package, which only
>>>> costs a couple of dollars.
>>> 
>>> I'll take that advice and try setting up espeak though it will require
>>> me to install and probably build from source, something I'm not
>>> unfamiliar with but is a path of greater resistance.
>>> 
>>> I did once a few years ago explore one of those Vinux distros but
>>> aborted  after some difficulties that I don't remember and just at that
>>> time ran on a much older laptop, also with eflite that was somewhat
>>> unstable and after nuking Pulse Audio.
>>> 
>>> I can scarcely justify the time it may take to deep dive this sort of
>>> issue, preferring to be just flat out productive which is what my
>>> employer reasonably expects.
>>> 
>>> At any rate, if I do make an interesting discovery that may be of
>>> interest to this community, I'll report on here with same. 
>>> 
>>> Thanks
>>> 
>>>> Tim
>>>> 
>>>> --
>>>> Tim Cross
>>>> IT Security Manager, Information Technology
>>>> University of New England
>>>> Armidale N.Sl.W. 2350
>>>> 
>>>> Email: tcross@une.edu.au
>>>> Phone: +61 2 6773 3210
>>>> Mobile: +61 428 212 217
>>>> 
>>>> On 07/11/2013, at 6:34 AM, Christopher Chaltain <chaltain@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>> I use eSpeak with Emacspeak and PulseAudio with no trouble. I used to compile eSpeak from source to use PulseAudio without going through PortAudio, but with Vinux 4, I no longer need to do this. I don't think there's a problem with PulseAudio and the eSpeak Emacspeak server. I think the issue lies in eSpeak when it's configured to go through PortAudio to get to PulseAudio.
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> On 11/06/2013 01:08 PM, Alex Midence wrote:
>>>>>> You using Pulse Audio?  That sounds a lot like what Pulse Audio does to the
>>>>>> Espeak speech server for Emacspeak.  I'm running Debian 7 as well and I just
>>>>>> made absolutely sure my system was pulse free by doing some very painstaking
>>>>>> and time-consuming installation wizardry but, because I did that, I stopped
>>>>>> having trouble such as you described with the Espeak server.  Perhaps, a
>>>>>> similar approach/solution will work with eflite?
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Alex M
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>>> From: Jerry Sievers [mailto:gsievers19@comcast.net]
>>>>>> Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2013 12:57 PM
>>>>>> To: emacspeak@cs.vassar.edu
>>>>>> Subject: Almost decent working standard packaged emacspeak/eflite on Debian
>>>>>> 7.2
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Hi list.  I've been running emacspeak happily since about the year 2000,.
>>>>>> starting out on ViaVoice outloud and then eflite.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Eflite has become less reliable over time and I presume might not even be
>>>>>> well supported lately, if at all.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Anyway, recently upgraded to a fresh Debian on Toshiba laptop and was
>>>>>> pleased that all the standard packaged emacspeak goodies did work straight
>>>>>> out of the box.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> There is a problem however that is a nuisance but one that I've seen
>>>>>> previously and just always tolerated.  I felt like asking  the brain-trust
>>>>>> here  though in case there's an easy fix.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Basically, the eflite driver or flite synth itself just plain chokes
>>>>>> frequently and requires a restart.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> I do not encounter the problem in top-down reading of larger chunks of text
>>>>>> but it happens frequently when arrowing around.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Literally, it's like Mr. Eflite choked on a big piece of steak and his wind
>>>>>> pipe closed entirely.  It happens sometimes on text input as well and in
>>>>>> fact I had to restart once while writing this.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Relevant versions shown below.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Anyone else who's ran across this and found a reliable fix or workaround,
>>>>>> please advise.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Emacspeak 29.0
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> GNU Emacs 23.4.1 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu, GTK+ Version 2.24.10) of 2012-09-08
>>>>>> on trouble, modified by Debian
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> $ cat /etc/debian_version
>>>>>> 7.2
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> $ eflite --version
>>>>>> Eflite 0.4.1
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> $ flite --version
>>>>>> Carnegie Mellon University, Copyright (c) 1999-2009, all rights reserved
>>>>>> version: flite-1.4-release December 2009 (http://cmuflite.org)
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Thank you
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> --
>>>>>> Jerry Sievers
>>>>>> e: gsievers19@comcast.net
>>>>>> p: 312.241.7800
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>> -
>>>>>> To unsubscribe from the emacspeak list or change your address on the
>>>>>> emacspeak list send mail to "emacspeak-request@cs.vassar.edu" with a subject
>>>>>> of "unsubscribe" or "help".
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>> To unsubscribe from the emacspeak list or change your address on the
>>>>>> emacspeak list send mail to "emacspeak-request@cs.vassar.edu" with a
>>>>>> subject of "unsubscribe" or "help".
>>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> -- 
>>>>> Christopher (CJ)
>>>>> chaltain at Gmail
>>>>> 
>>>>> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>> To unsubscribe from the emacspeak list or change your address on the
>>>>> emacspeak list send mail to "emacspeak-request@cs.vassar.edu" with a
>>>>> subject of "unsubscribe" or "help".
>>>>> 
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> -- 
>>> Jerry Sievers
>>> e: gsievers19@comcast.net
>>> p: 312.241.7800
>>> 
>>> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> To unsubscribe from the emacspeak list or change your address on the
>>> emacspeak list send mail to "emacspeak-request@cs.vassar.edu" with a
>>> subject of "unsubscribe" or "help".
>>> 
>> 
> 
> -- 
> Jerry Sievers
> e: gsievers19@comcast.net
> p: 312.241.7800
> 
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> To unsubscribe from the emacspeak list or change your address on the
> emacspeak list send mail to "emacspeak-request@cs.vassar.edu" with a
> subject of "unsubscribe" or "help".
> 

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