Re: [orca-list] Announcing Speech Switch: making Linux a hospitable place for TTS engines like Voxin

Hi Bill,

I maintain the Slint accessible distribution and tend to agree with Samuel's answer.

Currently for desktop users we ship these synthesizers:
flite-generic (unofficial custom config file).

I won't ship in Slint a software that doesn't bring at least the
same features as speech-dispatcher.

voxin (version 3.3rc1) is compatible with our version of speech-dispatcher.

Yes there is a lot of contributions to speech-dispatcher that could be way more useful that providing an alternative. Providing modules for
TTS engines not yet supported and re-writing spd-conf come to mind,
among others.

Best regards,


On 02/12/2020 17:27, Bill Cox via orca-list wrote:
Source code for the TTS modules is already available on Github <>.  The full system will  be running by January 1, and will be an alternative to Speech Dispatcher.

I would like to thank the Voxin and Orca authors for all their efforts over the years.  I rely heavily on both of these tools to remain productive at work.

Voxin broke again for me on Monday after a Linux update was pushed to my corporate laptop.  This is not the fault of the Voxin authors!  They do this work out of charity, knowing that blind and low vision folks around the world rely on their efforts.  The problem is the architecture of Speech Dispatcher, which is hostile to commercial TTS engines.  I will this with Speech Switch.

In the future, any Linux user, blind or sighted, will be able to easily install Voxin and likely several other commercial TTS engines.  You'll be able to buy a TTS license once, and use that same binary installer on any Linux distro, for years to come.  Updates to your Linux installation will no longer break the connection to your favorite TTS engine, so long as your distro tests that Orca works with Espeak as part of their release process.  This is my promise with Speech Switch.

Speech Switch currently supports Voxin, Espea, and PicoTTS.  Over the next few days, I am going to write the initial version of Speech Switch's command interpreter for SSIP, which is the command language used by Speech Dispatcher.  By January, you will be able to replace /usr/bin/speech-dispatcher with a symbolic link to /usr/bin/speechswitch, and everything should just work.

I could use help from volunte who would like to contribute!  In particular, I'd like some help writing a new Python library to allow Orca users to select either Speech Dispatcher or Speech Switch. Replacing /usr/speeech-dispatcher with a symlink to /usr/speechswitch is just a temporary hack.  Writing wrappers for other TTS engines would also be appreciated.  I've tried to make writing a TTS backend module as simple as possible, and I link only to libc, so your compiled modules should port across distros.  I also could use help from testers on various Linux distros.

If you're interested, send me an email to waywardgeek gmail com <mailto:waywardgeek gmail com>


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