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Choosing emacspeak!




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>>>>> "Alireza" == Alireza Darvishy <adiy@tiscalinet.ch> writes:

 Alireza> Hi I have been developing software using various tools on
 Alireza> the Windows-system.  Unfortunately, we had to write new
 Alireza> JFW-scripts for almost every new tool, in order to work with
 Alireza> it.

JFW simply just sucks. Under winblows I think window-eyes is much more
stable and easier to configure.

 Alireza> Now, I would like to lern emacspeak on a Linux system.  My
 Alireza> questions:

 Alireza> 1. Is it difficult to install emacspeak? Is there any
 Alireza>    documentation for
 Alireza> installing emacspeak? Is there any support, if the
 Alireza> installation doesn't work?

Personally, I didn't find it hard - then again I don't find linux/unix
hard and constantly struggle with windows!

There is some documentation and you will get some support from this
list. However, you won't get spoon fed. Most on this list expect you
to have a genuine go of doing it yourself and are prepared to help
those who have tried by reading the documentation etc. It is important
when asking questions you give as much detail as possible as crystal
balls are hard to come by these days. 

There is some user contributed documentation and Raman has put
together a fair bit of documentation. However, it is assumed you will
have some knowledge of linux/unix - you won't get much general linux
help here, but there are other forums for that. The mailing list is
also archived and you should always check the archive before asking
questions here. 

It sounds like you are an experienced computer user and if you have
been a developer, you should not have too much difficulty with getting
it all setup. It will take a while to get things customized to exactly
fit your needs, but you should be able to get up and working fairly
quickly, especially if you do your homework first. Unlike windows, you
need to read documentation etc and can't just put the disk into the
drive and click on 'OK'. 

Emacs itself has a fairly steep learning curve, but once you get the
hang of it I think you will find it a very nice environment to work in
- especially with emacspeak. There are some weaknesses - especially in
  the area of web browsing. Hoever, I think these are offset by the
  strengths of the system - especially for development work. For
  example, the JDEE package, which provides a java development
  environment is very good. Modes like cperl mode are also great when
  it comes to perl development. One tip I will suggest is that when
  you first start, don't fight against emacs - it is very likely it
  will do things differently to the way you would like to do it (or
  are use to). However, the trick with emacs is to try to get use to
  how it does things and after a while, once you become familiar with
  how emacs solves problems, you can then begin to customize it to
  exactly suit your needs. Emacs is a HUGE environment with modes
  available for almost everything. SOme of these modes take a bit of
  setting up or configuring to work exactly how you want, but once you
  get the emacs philosophy down, you will probably never look
  back. However, at first you will probably find it a bit frustrating
  and will have some old habits to break and some new ones to learn. 


 Alireza> 2. How long will it take me to lern emacspeak for writing
 Alireza>    codes, using
 Alireza> email, Internet and reading news?

If you just stick to the basic installation, you can be up and running
writing code, sending/receiving e-mail etc within a day or so. You
won't be as quick/productive as yo wold be in your familiar
environment. However, after a couple of weeks you should be just as
productive. Within a year I suspect you will be more productive. 


 Alireza> 3. I used Unix-system many years ago. I found it annoying to
 Alireza>    type paths such
 Alireza> as \..\.. the whole time in order to find a file. On the
 Alireza> Windows-system, it is easy to go through the
 Alireza> file-system. How is the using of the file-system in
 Alireza> emacspeak? Do I have to type the whole path in order to find
 Alireza> a file?

Well, Linux I guess is still very command line oriented - personally,
I like it better than GUI with a mouse etc. However, within emacs, you
have a mode called dired which allows you to get directory listings
etc which you can navigate through with the down/up arrows and use
other keys to edit/view/copy/rename/etc these files. 

 Alireza> 4. Which software syntheses work at best with emacspeak?

I think the easiest to get setup is a DECTalk Express hardware
synthesizer. There is also support for the dectalk software
synthesizer (you have to buy the runtime from fonix.com). Viavoice,
which was provided by IBM is also supported, but IBM is no longer
providing the viavoice runtime kits - you might be able to get one
from an archive at places like RedHat, but no guarantees. Depending on
the Linux version, viavoice may not even work. I think there is still
a driver for the doubletalk harware synth and there is a development
project crating the eflite drivers which use the festival lite
synthesizer. 

 Alireza> 5. Does the debugging in Java or Perl work well with
 Alireza>    emacspeak? I really
 Alireza> would appreciate your help.

Yes, I think the java and perl support within emacs is very good. I've
looked at other java development environments and have found nearly
all of them slow and buggy. THe emacs one is very good (at least it
was last time I used it which was some time ago). Depending on the
linux distribution you select, it might take a day or so to get the
java development environment fully setup and configured - but once you
do and become familiar with how to use it you should find it very
good. 

Emacspeak is not for everyone - you have to be willing to try to work
out problems yourself - just one of the costs of an open source
solution I guess. However, there are some good people on this list who
are willing to help those who are willing to help themselves. As you
are coming from a windows background, you will have a lot of old
windows bad habits to re-learn - for example, you hardly ever need to
reboot your linux system. In fact, you usually only need to do this
after you have installed a new kernel or boot loader. I had my linux
box at work running for 9 months straight last year and only re-booted
because we had a power outage. During this time, it ran a small Oracle
database and was my development workstation where I developed perl,
PL/SQL, Java and some C/C++ programs. I don't think there are many
windows platforms which can claim that and 9 months is NOTHING
remarkable in the linux/unix world. 

I hope this rant hasn't put you off. However, I don't want to give you
any false expectations - you will definatley find it harder at first,
especially if your use to the point and click world of
windows. However, if you give it a chance, put in the initial hours
getting to understand the way it works and the difference in
unix/emacs philosophy, in the end the rewards will be worth it. 

Tim

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