[Grml] Accessibility stuff: was: Re: I got Espeakup finally to work

Michael Whapples mwhapples at aim.com
Sun Jun 7 21:26:37 CEST 2009

On -10/01/37 20:59, Michael Prokop wrote:
> * Michael Whapples<mwhapples at aim.com>  [20090602 15:24]:
> [...]
>> It's not that important that you do the packaging for us. It would
>> help me a lot if you'd (kind of regularly) test our stuff, help us
>> in accessibility related questions and provide suggestions and tips
>> how we could improve stuff. It's especially hard for me to check out
>> all the speakup related features because I don't have the hardware
>> on my own and don't really know what people using those stuff really
>> need.

Fine with me. I just thought that knowledge on packaging would be useful 
even if so I could say why the package is wrong. Will have a read of the 
docs you refer to below.
>> Regarding packaging: have a look at the official Debian devel
>> documentation:
>> Debian New Maintainers' Guide:
>> http://www.debian.org/doc/maint-guide/
>> Debian Developer's Reference:
>> http://www.debian.org/doc/developers-reference/
>> Debian Policy Manual:
>> http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/
>> [...]
>> My view on accessibility is that where ever possible it should be in the
>> main distro and easy to get running. When I say easy to get running I
>> realise it can't be fully automatic on a CD such as GRML as not all
>> users want it, but ideally giving the swspeak command at the boot prompt
>> should be enough for software speech to come up working for the user
>> with all language settings as they gave (IE. if the console shows german
>> then speech should be german). On this topic it is something I never
>> really worked out, why does GRML require me to type swspeak once booting
>> finishes as surely the start up script which gives the speech messages
>> (eg. "software speech has been enabled, type swspeak once booting
>> finishes" or something like that) could run the swspeak command for me.
>> Related to this, when I do grml2hd the HD installation when it starts
>> will not come up automatically speaking, even if I used swspeak for
>> install. This has caught me and I think others out in the past, as the
>> instructions from the speech messages tell you type swspeak once booting
>> finishes but the HD installation puts you at a login screen so you need
>> to log in first.
> Alright, regarding the swspeak setup (the "type swspeak once booting
> finished") I've created a wishlist bugreport in our bug tracking
> system:  http://bts.grml.org/grml/issue684
Will look at that report and put further comments on that as necessary.
> Regarding grml2hd: I'm *not* a fan of the fact that people that
> don't know how to deal with Debian/unstable install a
> Debian/unstable based system on their box. There are several Debian
> developers working in the accessibility team of Debian and I'd like
> to have good accessibility in the official Debian installer and
> distribution. grml should be a good environment for all of you as a
> *live* system but if you intend to install Debian with accessibility
> features to harddisk then please either use the official Debian
> installer or consider using grml-debootstrap (which installs plain
> Debian on your system). But please do *not* use grml2hd if you're
> not really familiar with Debian/unstable.

OK, my grml2hd comment was partly that messages currently are wrong once 
performed the installation due to the difference of having to login to 
the installed system but no need to login on a LiveCD. If software 
speech is all automatically started then this will not cause a problem 
as the speech output from speakup will let users know that they are at a 
login screen.

Relating to your comments about grml2hd not being recommended for those 
unfamiliar with debian unstable. I plan to make an audio walkthrough for 
using GRML to install linux with software speech, can I infer that you 
would suggest this walk through should be using grml-debootstrap, as 
users who grml2hd would be suitable for would be fine with reading docs 
and working out what to do.
> So what I'd like to know: what are the biggest problems for you in
> using the official Debian installer with regards to accessibility?
> Might it be worth the effort to put work into grml-debootstrap
> providing an official Debian accessibility enabled harddisk
> installation?
In the past there hasn't been an official debian installation CD with 
software speech output. I think there was a installer CD back around 
kernel 2.6.18 but this only used speakup with hardware speech output. I 
think there may be some work being done on creating a suitable debian 
installer CD with software speech output, but I have stuck with GRML as 
it is also such a good live environment which provides me with all the 
accessibility I need.
> And I'd like to work out a list of what software is important for
> you nowadays. speakup, speech-dispatcher, espeakup, speechd-up,...
> etc. - I somehow lost the overview what's the way to go nowadays,
> what needs an update, what could be dropped, etc.
I personally feel espeakup gives me a better user experience than 
speech-dispatcher and speechd-up. Reasons are: espeak and espeakup seem 
to be very responsive and tend not to split words up (speech-dispatcher 
on the GRML 1.0 or something like that suffered from problems like 
that), speech-dispatcher is a server which can and sometimes does die on 
me so leaving me without speech (espeakup as far as I can remember has 
never died on me) and espeakup is certainly getting frequent updates 
(speechd-up seems to be slower on development). Speech-dispatcher has 
the following advantages: I think from what people say seems to be quite 
good for internationalisation (I am in the UK so use english, so don't 
find some of the internationalisation issues), speech-dispatcher seems 
to be being pushed for becoming a speech API for linux (I think there 
are plans for gnome-speech to be dropped for gnome 3.0 and 
speech-dispatcher to take its place) and other synthesisers can be used 
by speech-dispatcher (espeakup is tied to espeak). Its a shame the 
speech side of things isn't as clear as it is with the braille display 
support, brltty.

As a note about espeakup, the one used by GRML is 0.41 (or something 
around that version, quite old) but debian seem to have an espeakup 
package now for 0.71 (although package is numbered relative to speakup, 
3.0..4.dfsg.1-2). As debian is now providing this package and the debian 
one is newer may be follow that.

Michael Whapples
> regards,
> -mika-

More information about the Grml mailing list