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Re: Almost decent working standard packaged emacspeak/eflite on Debian 7.2

I use Orca on the graphical desktop all of the time, so I obviously don't find it utterly useless.

Compiling eSpeak to use PulseAudio or the runtime option is pretty straightforward. You just make one change in the makefile and then run a few make commands. It's all documented in the readme. I've never removed PulseAudio from a system, so I don't know what's involved with that, so I don't know if that's a path of greater resistance or not. You also may not even need to recompile eSpeak. Vinux 4 ships with an eSpeak that's already compiled to use the runtime option, this means it uses PulseAudio if it's there and PortAudio otherwise. Debian may now compile eSpeak this way as well.

BTW, I'm running Vinux 4, and I found it painless to install and start using.

On 11/06/2013 05:00 PM, Jerry Sievers wrote:
Hi Tim.  Remarks below...

Tim Cross <tcross@une.edu.au> writes:

I agree. I use to have problems with pulse audio and speak, but that
was some time ago with earlier versions of pulse audio which had
problems with some sound cards - particularly emu10k1 based cards. I
also found that speak worked much better provided it was compiled to
use pulse audio rather than port audio.
Upon first installing Debian on this new laptop, I went ahead with the
full graphical install and that did include Pulse Audio and whatever
else.  And then was intrigued with Orca and enabled it but found it to
be utterly useless and at this point,. emacspeak didn't work at all or
worked for just a few seconds and thus the box not going to be useful.

Running emacspeak is priority #1 and so I went ahead with the same
procedure that got eflite working satisfactorily on setting up another
laptop a few years earlier.  This was to remove Pulse Audio from the
system with no regard for whatever else would stop working along with

In fact, the Gnome desktop packages are still installed but no longer
configured to start at boot due to them being retained for good measure
but os of little value to me.

The aforementioned brute-force approach did result in the emacspeak
working well enough to begin using.

Although removing all pulseaudio from the system is an option, I would
not recommend it. Like it or not, it is the direction that Linux has
decided to take for sound infrastructure and you will find increasing
difficulty and loss of functionality without pulseaudio installed.
Agreed but as already mentioned, emacspeak was the priority and anything
else that was working too just an added bonus.

As a user of both a Mac with Voice Over and a Jaws/Windows system, I'm
skeptical that the graphical Linux environment is anywhere close to
overall functionality of these other 2 but will be glad to realize my
assumption is wrong... not even going to try finding out as long as they
conflict with emacspeak.

I do think that pulseaudio can be a bit of a resource hog and it
certainly seems to perform much better on 64 bit systems than 32
bit. Therefore, I would only consider removing pulseaudio on older and
slower hardware.

As to eflite, I'm not sure how well it is being maintained. Most
people seem to have gone with eSpeak rather than flite. I would
suggest trying eSpeak and see if that works better for you. However,
my favourite speech server for Linux is still 32 bit ViaVoice. While
this can be a bit of a pain to get working on a 64 bit system, it is
not too bad - especially if you use the oralux package, which only
costs a couple of dollars.
I'll take that advice and try setting up espeak though it will require
me to install and probably build from source, something I'm not
unfamiliar with but is a path of greater resistance.

I did once a few years ago explore one of those Vinux distros but
aborted  after some difficulties that I don't remember and just at that
time ran on a much older laptop, also with eflite that was somewhat
unstable and after nuking Pulse Audio.

I can scarcely justify the time it may take to deep dive this sort of
issue, preferring to be just flat out productive which is what my
employer reasonably expects.

At any rate, if I do make an interesting discovery that may be of
interest to this community, I'll report on here with same.



Tim Cross
IT Security Manager, Information Technology
University of New England
Armidale N.Sl.W. 2350

Email: tcross@une.edu.au
Phone: +61 2 6773 3210
Mobile: +61 428 212 217

On 07/11/2013, at 6:34 AM, Christopher Chaltain <chaltain@gmail.com> wrote:

I use eSpeak with Emacspeak and PulseAudio with no trouble. I used to compile eSpeak from source to use PulseAudio without going through PortAudio, but with Vinux 4, I no longer need to do this. I don't think there's a problem with PulseAudio and the eSpeak Emacspeak server. I think the issue lies in eSpeak when it's configured to go through PortAudio to get to PulseAudio.

On 11/06/2013 01:08 PM, Alex Midence wrote:
You using Pulse Audio?  That sounds a lot like what Pulse Audio does to the
Espeak speech server for Emacspeak.  I'm running Debian 7 as well and I just
made absolutely sure my system was pulse free by doing some very painstaking
and time-consuming installation wizardry but, because I did that, I stopped
having trouble such as you described with the Espeak server.  Perhaps, a
similar approach/solution will work with eflite?

Alex M

-----Original Message-----
From: Jerry Sievers [mailto:gsievers19@comcast.net]
Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2013 12:57 PM
To: emacspeak@cs.vassar.edu
Subject: Almost decent working standard packaged emacspeak/eflite on Debian

Hi list.  I've been running emacspeak happily since about the year 2000,.
starting out on ViaVoice outloud and then eflite.

Eflite has become less reliable over time and I presume might not even be
well supported lately, if at all.

Anyway, recently upgraded to a fresh Debian on Toshiba laptop and was
pleased that all the standard packaged emacspeak goodies did work straight
out of the box.

There is a problem however that is a nuisance but one that I've seen
previously and just always tolerated.  I felt like asking  the brain-trust
here  though in case there's an easy fix.

Basically, the eflite driver or flite synth itself just plain chokes
frequently and requires a restart.

I do not encounter the problem in top-down reading of larger chunks of text
but it happens frequently when arrowing around.

Literally, it's like Mr. Eflite choked on a big piece of steak and his wind
pipe closed entirely.  It happens sometimes on text input as well and in
fact I had to restart once while writing this.

Relevant versions shown below.

Anyone else who's ran across this and found a reliable fix or workaround,
please advise.

Emacspeak 29.0

GNU Emacs 23.4.1 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu, GTK+ Version 2.24.10) of 2012-09-08
on trouble, modified by Debian

$ cat /etc/debian_version

$ eflite --version
Eflite 0.4.1

$ flite --version
   Carnegie Mellon University, Copyright (c) 1999-2009, all rights reserved
   version: flite-1.4-release December 2009 (http://cmuflite.org)

Thank you

Jerry Sievers
e: gsievers19@comcast.net
p: 312.241.7800

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