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Emacspeak on Red Hat 9 + DECtalk Express?


I am having troubles getting Emacspeak and Red Hat 9 with a DECtalk
Express connected to the serial port to work correctly. I am hoping
someone on this list might be able to offer me some advice?

A bit of background...

I am a sysadmin in charge of about 190 Red Hat systems. Most of these
machines are running Red Hat 7.3 with emacspeak-16.0-1 and Via Voice
outloud. (plus w3) These machines are used for some classes here at NCSU.
Visually impaired users are also required to pass one class in our
college that use these machines to graduate. (Introduction
to computing environments) Unfortunately, Via Voice will no longer work
with Red Hat (9). So we needed to find a new voice synthesizer to work
with emacspeak. Since we have lots of Suns at NCSU, our Disabled Student
Services group wanted me to use DECtalk Express external synthesizers as
a replacement for IBM Via Voice. (Hoping that someday they could get
emacspeak to also work on a Solaris box...)

When I install emacspeak (Any later version) and do what I need to do to
make the external synthesizer work, I get a weird problem. Emacspeak seems
to work fine when a line in the editor has text.  However, on blank lines
it says:

"command error in parameter."

Which I would guess would annoy the bejezzus out of anyone using the
screen reader. ;)

I have no choice about which distro or version to use. I have to use Red
Hat 9. And it has to run a stock kernel. Does anyone have any advice? We
could try another software type synthesizer also but it would have to
work on Red Hat 9 and I am not sure which one would be best. Or would we
have better luck buying some other external synthesizers? Or is there a
fix for this problem that anyone has ever found?

We have to upgrade all of our lab machines to Red Hat 9 by January 1
because version 7.3 will no longer be supported by Red Hat after that
time with security updates.

Here are the commands I am running for install in my bash install script:

rpm -i tk-8.3.5-88.i386.rpm
rpm -i tclx-8.3-88.i386.rpm
rpm -i emacspeak-18.0-1.i386.rpm
rpm -i w3-4.0pre.47-2.i386.rpm

chmod 666 /dev/ttyS0

cat << EOF >> /etc/profile

Changing emacspeak versions (tried 16, 17, and 18) or leaving out w3 seems
to make no difference. The DECtalk still says "command error in
parameter." on blank lines in emacs. :(

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Gary Gatling      | Computer Systems Administrator
ITECS, BOX 7901   | Email: gsgatlin@eos.ncsu.edu
NCSU, Raleigh, NC | Phone: (919) 513-4572 (221 Page Hall)
27695-7901        | http://www.eos.ncsu.edu/hardware/

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