Wheezy with Speech Not Quite There Yet

Martin McCormick martin at dc.cis.okstate.edu
Tue Apr 10 09:22:24 EDT 2012

I have had a chance to more thoroughly examine what happened
when I used the netinst image which was build #7. I think we got
an installation of wheezy that might, one day, come up talking
but not quite yet. I did make a discovery about this particular
computer that may help some of the rest of you. If you turn off
the power via the power button, the drive stops spinning and the
fan in the power supply also dies so it appears to be off.
Apparently, a stack stays powered up and the system remembers
what state it was in when powered off so it just returns to that
state and doesn't actually reboot. This gives the appearance
that the CDROM is no longer bootable. If the system was doing
something rotten when shut down, it just picks right up doing
the same rotten thing and you can't stop it. There is no Reset
button either.

	I discovered by accident that completely removing mains
power for a few seconds allows that stack to also die and the
system will totally reboot when reconnected to the power.

	Now for Wheezy. There is definitely no
/boot/grub/menu.lst. The netinst disk makes for a relatively
decent rescue disk if you boot from it. You need to answer all
the questions about language and keyboard and hardware so it
finds your drive and then you can hit Alt-F2 then Enter to get
the ash prompt.

	You can then mount the hard drive which, in my case was
/dev/sda1 but which will in many cases be probably /dev/hda1.

	What I found was that /boot/grub was full of files but
no menu.lst. I think grub may have run but update-grub didn't
and that is what builds your first menu.lst.

	When you boot from that disk, speakup begins talking to
state that the console font can't be set and then there is the
longest list I have ever heard of errors related to alsa,
pulseaudio and jack. I don't truthfully know how it still talks
as it sounds as if every sound subsystem is unhappy about

	The flood of errors continues until the system tries to
start gnome and gdm at which point the audio stops and one gets
a low-pitched short beep any time one moves the arrow keys and
that's where I am stuck right now. I wonder how it gets that far
without menu.lst.

	Running update-grub on the mounted hard disk is easier
said than done. if you chroot /mnt, update-grub is available but
there are no device files in /dev related to the disk drive so
update-grub complains and stops.

	If you don't chroot /mnt, you can start update-grub but
it dies as soon as it needs a path that doesn't exist so it is
not able to run properly.

	While I wonder about the integrety of the installation,
I am pleased to see the speech working consistantly every time.
On this particular computer, that's progress.


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