Voxin was: Re: Switching to Linux

Kyle kyle4jesus at gmail.com
Thu May 9 18:57:13 EDT 2013

According to Brandon McGinty-Carroll:
# As I recall, voxen requires /dev/dsp or somesuch ancient sound API.

As far as I know, this is correct, but it's a lot worse than that. Not
only does Voxin require an ancient sound API, but it also requires
ancient C libraries in order to function. The source code is either lost
or is otherwise unavailable even to those who would maintain it, so it
can't even be rebuilt against the latest C libraries or even get any of
its numerous bugs fixed. It still crashes on words like c a e s u r e,
which according to Google is a bitcoin client written in Python, and is
also a rather common username on some non-blindness related forums. It
also crashes on a rather common OCR error when recognizing the word
Wednesday. I googled that one as well, and turns out it is a very common
OCR scanning error, especially when scanning newspapers. I was
especially seeing it in scanned newspaper archives from the late 1800's
and early 1900's. There are also reports of random crashes that cause
Voxin and other speech synthesis engines with the exact same codebase
but different names to randomly kill the screen reader, and there is
nothing anyone can do about it, because the source code is not available
or is lost. Worse still is the fact that many companies are actually
making a profit from licensing something so outdated, broken and
unstable, but I guess that's no different from what Microsoft has been
doing for years <smile>. It may fall on deaf ears for some reason, but
my recommendation is to avoid Voxin and all the other voices like it.
Use eSpeak, because it ships with most distros and just works. If you
don't like the way eSpeak sounds, you can still get festival working,
and Festival is capable of running some amazing free voices. There's
also Pico, which is now supported natively in speech-dispatcher. All
these voices sound better and work better than Voxin, which literally
makes my head hurt.
"Kyle? ... She calls her cake, Kyle?"
Out of This World, season 2 episode 21 - "The Amazing Evie"

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