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emacspeak versus commercial software



I have put in many hours trying to build a demo of a useful text-to-speech
tool for my blind friend.  At this point, I feel it necessary to do a sanity
check on this listserv.  Today, I came to the conclusion that irqtune, a
vital tool needed to make emacspeak functional on my system, will not work
with RH 7.2.  The binary is nonfunctional on 7.2 and the c source code
requires compiler extensions not supported in the RH 7.2 distribution.

With many years experience in system development and input solicited from
linux developers, I'm confident that my conclusion is correct (but I am
always open to criticism).  Consequently, I have started to evaluate
alternative programs that do not require irqtune.  The first one I have
tried is Jaws for Windows.  Though a little too verbose, it does have many
of the same features as emacspeak.  It even supports control key sequences
and has hooks into the most popular Windows applications.

What am I missing here?  Other than being "free" and running on a "free"
operating system, what makes emacspeak superior to Jaws?  I contend that
cost is not an issue. I bet I can find an individual or organization to fund
the purchase of commercial software for anybody in need on this group. I am
sighted and new to this area, so I know I do not have a full appreciation
for how emacspeak is serving the needs of this community. Accordingly, I
plan to observe just how Jaws is used in a school for the blind in my local
area.  The question that will be in my mind is: Could emascspeak do a better
job?

Your comment are welcome.

Patrick


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