Re: [orca-list] gnome-speech, and audio output, moving forward.

In my opionion we should change the speech output completely to

It can handle alsa output for all supported synths, and can be used with
other (console apps) too.
I am using it since a few month and it works for me very well.
Remember: Braille output uses a "non-gnome" based server.
Why shouldn't  this the same thing using a speech-server???

On Di, Sep 18, 2007 at 03:44:02 +0100, Michael Whapples wrote:
Here are my thoughts on this. Yes it would be good to have the speech API 
(gnome-speech) handling the audio. I say this, having now seen 
speech-dispatcher 0.6.4, which works well with its espeak driver (not the 
espeak-generic, but the specific espeak driver). I know that some people 
have had issues with the stability of speech-dispatcher in the past, and I 
don't know if those still exist now for those users, but it works well for 
me. So if it was stable for all, then I would say that speech-dispatcher is 
what is needed. Adding to what you said about commercial synths, doesn't 
speech-dispatcher allow use of ibmtts through alsa as speech-dispatcher 
handles the audio, like it does for espeak now, so getting round the issue 
of the commercial synths supporting only OSS.

Also in favour of something like speech-dispatcher is that for those of us 
who don't always want gnome, and may have some systems with only speakup and 
command line stuff, then gnome-speech depends on some gnome stuff and so 
would require gnome to be installed unnecessarily. Also there is the issue 
of conflicts between speech API's, so where I use speakup for command line, 
but may have gnome installed (and orca being used), speech-dispatcher 
handles these two systems trying to use the same synth.

So what I am saying is, is it time to drop gnome-speech, and try and make 
another system such as speech-dispatcher more robust? I think TTSAPI may be 
trying to be the replacement for speech-dispatcher, but I don't know how it 
is performing.

Michael Whapples
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Luke Yelavich" <themuso themuso com>
To: "Orca screen reader developers" <orca-list gnome org>; "Ubuntu 
Accessibility Development Mailing List" 
<ubuntu-accessibility-devel lists ubuntu com>; "Gnome Accessibility List" 
<gnome-accessibility-list gnome org>; "GNOME Accessibility Developers" 
<gnome-accessibility-devel gnome org>
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2007 1:22 PM
Subject: [orca-list] gnome-speech, and audio output, moving forward.

Hash: SHA1

Greetings all.
For a while now, it has been possible to have multiple audio streams 
playing at the same time, using ALSA's
dmix plugin under Linux. This also has meant the ability to have speech 
audible at the same time as other
audio. Users have desired the ability to do this for a while now, 
particularly since it has been possible in
other operating systems for a long time.

Since eSpeak has been developed, we have had a very usable synthesizer for 
speech output, which supports a
growing number of languages. Since this synthesizer is cross-platform, the 
choice was made by the author to
use PortAudio, thereby supporting all platforms where PortAudio is 
available. Since PortAudio v19, it has been
possible to use Alsa for audio output via PortAudio. In theory, this is 
good news, however in practice, this
has created more problems than it should solve, for the following reasons, 
as far as I see things:

* PortAudio v19 has had no official release, and so seems to be in a 
rather constant state of flux, making it
difficult for distros to reliably support a working version.
* PortAudio's alsa implementation seems to currently be broken, which is 
evident while using eSpeak, and
attempting to speak multiple strings of text rapidly over a short period 
of time.
* As far as I've seen, there is no easy way for the user to select which 
output device portaudio should use.
Added to that, if more than one app is using portaudio, this will affect 
that application as well as espeak,
which may not be what the user desires.
* All proprietary synths only support oss output, which makes simultaneous 
audio and speech currently

What I would like to propose, is the following. Since a large porshion of 
GNOME's multimedia framework is now
using gStreamer, I would like to suggest that we make all gnome-speech 
drivers use gStreamer, and if possible,
add another option to the sound preferences, to allow the user to select 
which soundcard they wish to use for
speech output. This would result in gstreamer being used via Alsa on 
Linux, thereby allowing simultaneous
audio and speech, which would likely happen at the gstreamer level before 
it even reaches alsa. (I don't
really know how gstreamer works, so this is a guess on my part.)

- From what I have seen, just about all proprietary synth APIs support 
sending audio data from the synth back to
the calling application, thereby allowing the audio to be sent whereever 
the application wishes. I am well
aware that gnome-speech was initially designed to not care about how the 
audio was played, but since its
initial inclusion in GNOME, gstreamer has become the standard multimedia 
framework for GNOME, and at least in
Ubuntu's implementation, allows the user to set different devices for 
several different uses, such as sound
events, music and movies, and audio/video conferencing.

I think we owe users the ability to use speech alongside audio, and offer 
it in an easy to use way, thereby
putting full control in their hands. Now that we are at the beginning of a 
new GNOME release, I personally
think its time to get serious about offering users a deacent screen reader 
and speech experience, the same, if
not better than what other operating systems offer.

I have sent this post to these lists, to try and get as wide a viewpoint, 
and discussion as possible. I would
appreciate any replies to be sent to all lists, to ensure everybody can 
participate in the discussion.

I would like to invite both users and developers to express their views on 
a matter which I believe needs
resolving. Input from gnome devs, particularly those for gnome-speech is 
very much welcome.

So, lets sort something out.
- -- 
Luke Yelavich
GPG key: 0xD06320CE
Email & MSN: themuso themuso com
Jabber: themuso jabber org au
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)


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