Re: [orca-list] Login Desktop, CMU Arctic, SAPI via Wine?

Hi Michael,
I wonder if I should top-post? I normally do in all blind related groups and lists including blind-programming, in which it is the norm. But since I know how to do regexp searching, bottom posting is OK to me, too. I'll top post as you did:

About changing the desktop environment I got that figured out. Looking at someone else's screen shots magnified on the Web, I figured out that the Ubuntu Human themed login dialog has a text called options at the very lower left corner. And in that menu the underlined letter s stands for sessions. IN the dialog that pops up you can use the numbers as mnemonic keys to change sessions and tab twice and enter to select that session, and ok out of the dialog. By brute force trial and error, I figured out the correct item mumber, on my system. Well, I can report that Orca does not speak any menus in XFCE, enough said. Well, I expected that.

One of the things I don't like about Gnome is the rather crude file manager compared to Total Commander or xplorer 2 on the Wintel side. So, am now looking at Gnome commander and some gnome theming tool to see if they are to my liking.

About audio software, that I've tested too, Ardour seemed somewhat accessible in terms of control as did Audacity. But Audacity's track controls are not in the tab order, which is too bad. Oh yes and Rose Garden freezed at the logo, oh well.

As you might have guessed some things I like about Gnome include:
1. How fast orca starts up compared to the Win32 ATs.
2. How easy it is to add software, look at what's available by category, and install them without having to hunt stuff on the Web or watch the command line for typos. 3. Some of the controls. In particular I love the multi column list implementation in both GTK+ and orca. I can cursor through the columns I need manually with the arrows, normally only getting only the most important column but having the ability to look at the rest, too. Not only that but the type ahead navigation, where I can actually see the search string being edited with a screen reader, and which is not time out based, works great. My only minor gripe about that is that I'd like to use the down arrow to move the focus from the search field to the list being searched anyway. Since I often wish to navigate after the search and since the search field is single line, the down arrow would be free. But that's small potatoes. Of course, wildcard and regexp searching would rock, but that's another story. 4. How wel auto-completion works in the terminal, even spoken. Unlike in Winblows, I can actually continue appending further dirs effortlessly after tab completion. Any chance of having the Gnome terminal use the exact same keys as the text fields do? I've been using these keys on the Windows side for years, and they work much the same in Gnome and in OS X.

As to the rest of my issues:
You are right, i realized myself, too, that these large festival voices will probably be much more laggy than the old ones. They might be nice for e-books but despite having several different multi hundred meg voices in Windows, at the end of the day, I do use Orpheus for everything due to superior intelligibility.

eSpeak is Ok to me but I could use it faster than it currently goes, I think. Also I think part of the lag might be explained by Gnome speech itself rather than eSPeak. they use OSS, rather than ALSA, I think, and the Orca wiki states that one advantage of using speech dispatcher is less latency. Well, that setup seemed very hard, so I'm skipping it for the moment.

I'm not sure if ViaVoice would be that much better than eSPeak for me, since I have never gotten really used to it, being an Orpheus user. Another problem is that in the latest Hardy Ubuntu release, they dropped the library using which the LInux and ViaVoice based speech synths operate, since it is legacy stuff. So it will not work, if I got this correctly, in hardy anyway. Maybe there are ways to improve eSpeak, I'll contact the author about it.

Regarding the command line it depends. I find that new mainstream ssoftware is often graphical, and GUIs are easier to discover and learn, even with a screen reader. But for programming and sysadmin stuff, most definitely the CLI.

Regarding of mainstream, is there, an instant messaging client for the command line that could post new messages by others to my console directly? ANd also let me post new messages via a simple command line program? I think that would be neat and something know-one knew existed when I asked about it years ago in Debian Accessibility.

Interesting choices for SAPI most definitely. Maybe I'll get Win95 somewhere, virtualize that in VmWare, write the Perl scripts to interface with speech dispatcher, and start playing around with it. But that will be a major project and I'm not quite ready yet. eSpeak is usable, about as nice as the OS X speech in terms of intelligibility, so maybe I was a bit too harsh on it initially.

At this point I'm happy I've gotten LInux to a good start. NOw I can actually start to use the system rather than play around with frustrating tech issues of assistive technology, <grin>.

With kind regards Veli-Pekka Tätilä

Michael Whapples wrote:
First the login issue. The X window manager can be selected via a text
based tool (well it is possible for me using slackware), the tool is
xwmconfig. I have only used this from a text console, but can't think of
a reason why it won't work from a terminal window. If this doesn't work
and you need access to a login window there is information out there on
the internet (I think even at the Orca wiki) describing how to set up
accessible login. I don't know how much of a difference you will notice
if you are using orca in XFCE as it will still be using the GTK
accessibility stuff.

You then went on to TTS. If by the arctic voices you mean the multisyn,
then tese perform very slowly and I would say are very unlikely to
satisfy you for use with a screen reader. I am unsure why it isn't
showing up in gnome-speech.

It may be to do with your configuration, but I find that espeak is
fairly responsive enough, and feel that some of the lag is from Orca,
at-spi and earlier on in the chain. For some the maximum speed of espeak
may not be enough.

Another possibility you may wish to consider (not knowing if finish is
available, although I think it supports quite a number of languages) is
IBMTTS (what was viavoice, and is the same as eloquence). Unfortunately
IBMTTS will cost something, and not being opensource (so you get the
binary only) means that it has some dependencies on particular versions
of libraries. I haven't purchased it myself (as espeak is enough) so I
can't say what the maximum speed is.

As for your final topic of using sapi voices in wine, can't say on that
particular set up. What you could do is have your linux machine and a
windows machine (may be windows in a VM, so long as it can be reached
via a network connection) and you could get speech-dispatcher to send
output to the windows machine (I have a patched version of for
speech-dispatcher which allows customisation of where speech-dispatcher
output should be sent) and then if you are able you could create a perl
script to behave as the speech-dispatcher server (or if you could
compile speech-dispatcher on windows you could create an output module
for speech-dispatcher) to use Orpheus. I don't know whether that would
actually perform fast enough though.

Don't forget, if you felt the command line was better, it is still
available as a full environment and GUIs such as gnome, xfce are not
required to use Linux. I very much believe that is where the real power
of Linux still is.

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