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Re: Emacspeak: Smithsonian Institute Case Study

Hello Raman

First off: congratulations.

I'm an enthusiastic Linux newbie. I successfully repartioned the
disk of a blind friend (Jacques Coetzee), installed Linux, installed 
Emacspeak 9.0, installed Mbrola -- mixing and matching .tar.gz, .tgz, 
.rpm and .deb files, fiddling with stacks of configuration files -- 
and successfully achieved a speaking computer.

However .. I have not yet been able to get the kernel to correctly 
load the PPP support module, and so I have been unable to set up his 
dialup networking -- the main reason why he agreed to let me loose on 
his computer in the first place. Also, I have not yet begun to switch 
him over from working with a screenreader writing documents, to 
working with Emacs doing all kinds of things he cannot do or 
imagine at the moment, which is not going to be trivial. Also, 
repartitioning antagonized the copy protection of the software 
DecTalk for Windows95 which he had been using, and it took a lot of 
fiddling again to get its voice back. Also, it would have been ideal 
to simply download DecTalk for Un*x from the Net, under Jacques 
current licence. As it is, Mbrola saved the day, but the 
combination still crashes or goes dumb sometimes. 

This is thus at best a qualified success story.

Bottom line: the current distribution is pretty damn tough to manage
without committed expert help (I did have local expert help -- but
never for more than an hour or two at a time). I'd have to preach
like crazy to get the regional school for the blind to even consider
it (which is what I'd ideally want to do). This caveat goes as much
for Linux (I'm using Red Hat 5.1). Of course the solution is simply
to learn a whole lot more, and I will. 

Having said that -- the current Blinux distribution (thanks, Hans!) 
comes with more excellent documentation, software and data than I 
could fully assimilate in months. 

In closing I have to thank Bart, Greg, Hans, Jason, James, Tomas, and 
everyone on the list who's helped me, and who are helping the 

Jean Jordaan

p.s. I have no objection to being quoted.

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