Re: Thoughts on speech

I'll comment inline.
On Fri, Mar 14, 2008 at 09:29:43PM -0700, Marco Zehe wrote:
> Hi there!
> After reading comments on this subject from the past couple of weeks, I
> can't help but think that, either I'm doing something wrong, or people
> are so used to things not quite working right that they're simply
> overlooking these. So I'd like to recap my recent experience getting
> Speech-Dispatcher installed in a Ubuntu Gutsy system.
For some of your problmes, that's probably true.

> First, I could not get the demon to start after I had installed SD. I
> actually had to reboot the system.
Never seen that issue, but I run all Debian boxes now days.  My recent tests with Ubuntu Hardy did have problems, but they could
be fixed by removing a file specific to the Ubuntu speech-dispatcher package.

> Second, after reboot was finished, Gnome-Speech, which was still
> configured as Orca's main speech server, was completely gone. There was
> no speech, and since I didn't have a braille display, I was left
> completely in the dark. I had to "blindly" start gnome-terminal, delete
> my .orca settings folder, and shutdown and re-run Orca from the command
> line to choose SD from the text-based initial setup.
That was because Ubuntu uses portaudio 18 for espeak.  This means espeak uses OSS for output instead of ALSA.  That issue doesn't happen
on Debian because it uses portaudio 19 for espeak.  It will happen with any other gnome-speech synths since all the other ones use OSS.

> Third, after I had it up and running, I found that often, two chunks of
> stuff to be spoken would overlap, especially when Orca was speaking
> something and I was using the keyboard to either type in something or
> navigate. For example: I was going through the Orca Preferences dialog.
> I had Key Echo set to Characters, and everytime I hit TAB to go to the
> next control, it would take over half a second before Orca stopped
> speaking the previous control that I was not interested in. Within that
> half second, on a second audio channel, it would speak the fact that I
> had pressed TAB. So I had both an overlap in speech output coming from
> the SAME product, and a delay in the speech synth shutting up speaking
> the control I was not interested in. To me, this is unnerving, if not
> even unacceptable behaviour. If I press something like the TAB or an
> arrow key, I want the speech engine to shut up immediately and speak the
> new chunk of information relevant to me, and not think about whether it
> should stop speaking and pick up the new chunk at its own leisure.
> Are other people not bothered by this behaviour?
> BTW this was using eSpeak as the synth, but the same was also observed
> using IBM TTS.
> Gnome-Speech, on the other hand, has never given me that trouble. Also,
> in my opinion, Gnome-Speeech reacts faster to keyboard navigation with
> any synth than Speech-Dspatcher does.
The overlap is a side effect of dmix.  I notice it, but it isn't as long here as what you experience.
I agree there are still issues to be resolved with speech-dispatcher, but the added features of speech-dispatcher over gnome-speech will eventually make
Orca better once it switches to speech-dispatcher and the problems are fixed.
At this time, only a few Linux users even test speech-dispatcher with Orca.  I still don-t know anyone running Solaris, who has tried speech-dispatcher yet.
I've asked for people to try it on the Orca IRC channel, but all of them are busy with other things.  If I could install Solaris myself, I'd test in a second,
but there isn't an accessible install for Solaris.


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