speech-dispatcher questions

Hynek Hanke hanke at brailcom.org
Wed Nov 29 18:07:58 EST 2006

> >> How can I get my apollo synth working with speech-dispatcher? I noticed 
> >> the apollo.conf file in the modules directory, but no sign of it in the 
> >> speechd.conf file to add the module. I tried the following line without 
> >> the quotes surrounding the entire line
> >> "AddModule "apollo"    "sd_apollo"    "apollo.conf""

Hi Michael,

currently the only way to use the apollo synthesizer in Speech
Dispatcher is via the Generic output module using some apollo-say
command (if there is any) and some configuration script for the module.

I'm sorry we've got you confused by the apollo.conf file in the
distribution. This is unfortunatelly a mistake. We had an output
module for apollo long time ago, but our Apollo synthesizer we had at
that time didn't even support any kind of index marks or notification of
speech termination.

To give some background, there is a requirement on all Dispatcher output
modules to be able to tell when the speech has terminated. Without it,
much of the Dispatcher functionality is broken. It can't synchronize
messages correctly inside and between various applications. For this
reason, we have decided to remove the module. You won't get far if we
would have kept it since this is also a basic requirement in Orca and
elsewhere. I forgot to also remove the configuration file from the

I know some later versions of the Apollo synthesizers include some
support for notifications. If there is enough wish for a driver to be
included in Speech Dispatcher, it will be done.

However, I'd suggest that you try to find alternative ways using
software synthesis. These hardware synths are quite simple, non free
software, many times also quite expensive (so not a solution for
everyone). If we need some feature, it is not possible to extend them,
so it holds back our progress on accessibility (while we can extend
things like Festival and eSpeak pretty easily to suite our needs).
Of course there are still valid reasons to use hardware synthesis,
but in longer term, it definitely pays of to support free software
synthesis -- by the developers and by the users.

In the meantime, unless somebody wants to offer to develop a full
output module, then if you like, we can try to create a generic
configuration script for Apollo. But I need your cooperation, since
I don't own the device. Let me know off-list.

With regards,
Hynek Hanke

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