Configuration Files

Kirk Reiser kirk at
Sat Mar 1 14:26:59 EST 2003

Well, you have to keep some things in mind when discussing or thinking
about changes to speakup for whatever reason: one is speakup is kernel
code.  Two is speakup is kernel code. 'grin'

What I mean is the fewer things you can do in kernel code the better.
On the other hand you have to maintain a way to communicate with
speakup to control it's facilities such as synth rate, punctuation
level and the like.  We used to have a separate program with sent
ioctl() calls to the kernel to control speakups facilities.  Then the
popular way of communicating with kernel space changed by Alan Cox and
Linus.  The /proc file system came along where you could either use a
separate program to change settings indirectly through the /proc file
system or directly by munnipulating the files under /proc.  We rewrote
speakup at that point to use the newly smiled upon method of
communicating with the kernel.

So saying all of the above I would not recommend changes to speakup to
change it's settings directly because of the amount of time which
would need to be spent in kernel space to accomplish those changes.
Specifically I mean writing functions which would have to wait for
user input of data such as rate changes because of the time involved.
We do that now with the gotoxy functions and I've never been
particularly happy about that.  Fortunately it doesn't get used very
often, so it isn't much of a problem and it will be needed for future
speakup enhancements.

Now, changes which would be useful and as you pointed out are already
on the todo list is a mechanism to identify what program/application
is running on this console and load a configuration change if one is
available to modify speakup for this app.  I don't really think it is
a very big task to make this change but it is one I have not
undertaken because of all the other modifications to speakup I need to
make as well as all the other programming projects I've been working
on lately.

There are a number of other enhancements which really should be done
as well such as determining background attributes and not speaking
them when highlighting is changed.  This would be very useful when
working through a menu or program such as lynx.  More work on cursor
mode would also be a very nice thing to complete for those that fine
automatic speaking of lines and characters a requirement to comfort
level of using speakup.

These are just two examples of additions which speakup sorely needs in
some folks opinions.  So I would incourage you or anyone else
interested in making speakup better, to adopt as projects which will
make a significant difference in it's usability.

Looking back through this I'm not sure I actually answered your
question.  You did ask my opinion and you definitely got that.
Anything you wish to do to help speakups development is appreciated.
The more needed the enhancements the more appreciation will be accrued.



Kirk Reiser				The Computer Braille Facility
e-mail: kirk at		University of Western Ontario
phone: (519) 661-3061

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