FAQ gally proof

Ann Parsons akp at eznet.net
Sun Jun 17 09:49:30 EDT 2001

Hi all,

I just finished the FAQ.  I am posting it here to see if anyone has
any additional comments, suggestions, spelling errors, etc.  You may
all want to send to me privately rather than choking up the list, it's
up to you.


The document below is designed to answer the most frequently asked
questions about Speakup, the  screen reader/speech access system for
the Linux Operating System, used by people who are blind.  This
software is primarily developed and maintained by Kirk Reiser
(kirk at braille.uwo.ca).  It was developed initially by Kirk along with Andy
Berdan, with additional coding by John Covici and Brian Borowski.
Speakup was first announced on October 29, 1998 at:  08:55:28 -0500
     Most of the current development work is done by Kirk and Jim
Danley, along with contributions from other speakup users.

q.  Why should I use Speakup?

A.  If you are blind and want to use Linux as your operating system,
and if you want to know what is going on with your system from boot-up
to shut-down, then Speakup is for you.  Speakup gives you full access
to all console programs in the Linux OS.  It works particularly well
with telnet and with FTP. 

q.  Where do I get speakup?

A.  Speakup can be obtained by going to:  http://linux-speakup.org

q.  What kind of computer equipment do I need to run Speakup?

A.  The Linux OS can be placed on any PC from a 386 on up.  One will
receive best results from using a 486 or better machine, however.  

q.  What speech synthesizers are supported by Speakup.

A.  At the moment, Speakup supports only hardware synthesizers.  Here
is a list of what is currently supported.

Accent PC: acntpc
Accent SA: acntsa
Apolo: apolo
Audapter: audptr
Braille 'n Speak, and other such Blazie products: bns
DecTalk External (older model): decext
DecTalk PC (newer model): dectlk
DoubleTalk PC (internal): dtlk
LiteTalk/DoubleTalk LT (external): ltlk
Speakout: spkout
Transport: txprt
This list is current as of speakup version 0.10.

Instructions on installation for each synthesizer can be found at the
URL listed above.

q.  Will Speakup work on a Windows system?

A.  Although Speakup is a Linux Program and does not work in Windows,
there is a mini version of Linux plus speakup that can be run on a
dos/windows system.  It is called Zips lack.  It was designed by
Matthew Campbell and can be obtained by going to:  


This is an excellent option if you are interested in Linux but do not
wish to devote much disk space, or resources to it.  It can be
expanded into a full Linux system should you wish to do so.

q.  I have heard about Emacspeak.  How does Speakup differ and which
is better, or do I need both?

A.  Emacspeak, developed by T.V. Raman and currently in version 14, is
a verbal output system for Emacs, the customizable editor for
Unix/Linux.  It is a complete desktop system for the OS, and works
well with any console application that has been linked to it.
However, it has some significant drawbacks.  It does not work well
with Telnet or with FTP, and it does not give access to programs with
which it is not linked.  

However, there is a way to install both Speakup and Emacspeak on one's
system.  This allows full access to all console programs plus the
desktop environment of Emacs.  

Emacspeak can be downloaded from sourceforge via HTTP or FTP:



You can visit Emacspeak on the WWW at

http://www.cs.cornell.edu/home/raman/emacspeak (Cornell) --You
can also pick up emacspeak via anonymous ftp from


q. What versions of speakup work with what kernels?

A.  The latest version of Speakup, 0.10A will work with kernels 2.2.18
and above.  For further information, ask on the speakup list.  

q.  How do I install Speakup?

A.  The easiest way is to download the appropriate precompiled kernel for your
synthesizer if the kernel is lower than 2.2.18 and install from the
downloaded image.  If the distribution's kernel is higher than 2.2.18, it is
likely that there is a generic patched kernel and you have to enter a string
to tell speakup what synthesizer you wish to use.  For example:

speakup_synthesizer=dectlk speakup_serial=0

The above string is for the Dectalk Express on Com 1 under DOS or tty0 under

Having obtained the appropriate kernel image that matches your distribution
and synthesizer, you can either create boot up disks with the dd command on
Unix type systems or rawrite under DOS or Windows, or by placing the
necessary files into a directory and using loadlin to start the installation
process.  For example: if the image is called bare.i, under Unix type system
you'd use the command string:

dd . . . .(Sorry don't know the string)

To use rawrite.exe under DOS or Windows you'd write, providing rawrite.exe
and bare.i are in the same directory as each other, say for example c:\Linux
you'd enter at a command prompt the following command strings:

cd c:\Linux
[Press return]
rawrite bare.i a:
[Press return]

Loadlin.exe enables a Linux installation to be started from a DOS prompt,
before going into Windows.  You'd need to create a batch file to run
loadlin.exe with the appropriate parameters.

Rawrite.exe and loadlin.exe can usually be found in a directory called
dosutils on distribution CD's, or something like that depending upon the
distribution.  They're often accompanied with detailed documentation.

Q.  What is the best way to download the appropriate file from the

A.  FTP is the quickest way to do this, although you can use the web
site's download facility.  One caveat, MSIE users be sure to type in
the address for the archive with ftp: in stead of http.  Some MSIE
users have trouble downloading the files because MSIE puts line-feeds
where they should not go.  If you do not have an FTP client, then try
using the Windows FTP client from a DOS box.  Be sure to type bin
before starting any transfer.  

Q.  I've just used rawrite to make a boot disk for my system, and it
will not talk, it will not do anything.  Why?

A.  Your speech synthesizer probably got in the way.  Before typing
the command again, turn off your speech program.  

q. why doesn't speakup come up talking when I use bla bla bla distros
boot disk?

A.  There are many reasons for this including:  a bad rawrite image,
the wrong comm port setting in the command line, an improperly
downloaded file.  For more specific information consult the
documentation file or ask on the Speakup list.

q. what is the status of cursering?

A.  The cursoring problem has been solved in part.  It is still in the
process of solution.

Q.  I hate documentation, and find it difficult to use because I do
not understand it.  How can I contact live human beings for help? 

A.  The simplest way to contact us is via our mailing list.  To
subscribe to this list, send an msg to:

speakup-request at braille.uwo.ca

In the body of the message, simply write subscribe.  when you have
done this, you will receive information on how to send directly to the
list.  Please keep this information for future reference.  

			    Ann K. Parsons

			Ann K. Parsons  
email:  akp at eznet.net 			ICQ Number:  33006854
WEB SITE:  http://home.eznet.net/~akp
"All that is gold does not glitter.  Not all those who wander are lost."  JRRT

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