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Re: emacspeak versus commercial software



You could start by reading T.V. Raman's papers, available from his web
site at http://www.cs.cornell.edu/home/raman/ and his book, Auditory
User Interfaces: Toward the Speaking Computer, full publication
details of which are available from his site. Note in particular the
contrast between Emacspeak and screen readers.

In short, whereas commercial programs for DOS, OS/2 and Microsoft
Windows which provide speech access to applications are essentially
concerned with providing an auditory rendering of the screen display,
Emacspeak has access to, and takes full advantage of, the underlying
logic of the application to present a speech interface that parallels,
but is not simply derived from, the visual interface. For this reason
the quality of the spoken interaction is superior to that which can be
achieved via screen readers. Furthermore, Emacspeak supports auditory
icons, audio formatting (that is, the use of prosodic characteristics
of the speech to convey meaning) and other interface features which
enhance the user's experience and improve the effectiveness of the
interaction. These features aren't available from popular screen
access packages.

Finally of course, Emacspeak runs under Unix-like operating systems,
which have many advantages in themselves, including a wealth of useful
software, a high degree of configurability and so forth. Naturally,
Emacs itself superbly exemplifies these characteristics.

There is an outstanding collection of comments, also published,
if I recall correctly, on Raman's site, or at least linked thereto, by
Emacspeak users, explaining why this software constitutes their
preferred computing environment.

I hope this helps.

Jason.

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