Voxin was: Re: Switching to Linux

John G. Heim jheim at math.wisc.edu
Fri May 10 11:50:35 EDT 2013

Just a note, I switched back to espeak just to try it again. A couple of 

1. Espeak has a problem with key echo. I can type faster than espeak can 
echo my keystrokes. I didn't have that problem with voxin.
2. It's still doing that thing where the speech rate or the ptich gets 
stuck at the wrong values. So that is obviously an orca problem, not voxin.

The real test for me wont' be with writing email messages though. The 
test wwill be seeing whether espeak or voxin work better when I'm 
editing code or typing commands into a terminal window.

On 05/10/13 09:38, John G. Heim wrote:
> I don't know all the extra debian packages voxxin  requires. It goes out
> and installs them itself. IIRC, /dev/dsp is created by installing the
> alsa-oss package. That may be one of the extra packages voxin requires.
> I don't know.  All I had to do to install voxim was unzip it and run the
> install script. When I restarted gdm, I went into orca preferences and
> was able to configure orca to use voxin for the TTS.
> I've had some minor problems since switching to voxin like having the
> speech rate and the pitch get stuc at the wrong settings. Orca
> identifies links in mail messages and web pages by slowing the speech
> rate way down. And it identifies all caps by raising the pitch.
> Sometimes those settings don't go back where they belong. I also
> sometimes have to restart orca by pressing alt+f2 and typeing "orca
> --replace". But that almost always works if orca crashes or gets messed
> up somehow.
> As I said, orca isn't anywhere near as stable as speakup. In fact, I'd
> rate it behind jaws, voiceover, and even nvda. But even so, it's darn
> good. Good enough for me to feel I can do my job with it approximately
> as efficiently as I could with Windows. I'm a linux systems admin and
> not using linux myself is kind of like cheating.  I'm finally using the
> same OS that all my end users are using.
> On 05/09/13 14:37, Brandon McGinty-Carroll wrote:
>> As I recall, voxen requires /dev/dsp or somesuch ancient sound API.
>> Is this no longer correct?
>> Brandon McGinty-Carroll
>> On Thu, May 09, 2013 at 09:01:28AM -0500, John G. Heim wrote:
>>> All I did was to do a talking install  the current debian stable.
>>> Orca came up talking on the login screen when I rebooted after
>>> finishing the install.
>>> Some recommendations:
>>> 1. Go with debian stable.
>>> 2. Consider doing a dist upgrade to stable backports. This gets you
>>> a 3.2 kernel.
>>> 3. Use firefox and thunderbird from mozilla on sourceforge. Do not
>>> use the equivalent debian packages.
>>> 4. Gedit is more than adequate as a replacement for notepad.
>>> 5. Consider buying voxin. Voxin is eloquence for linux. You get the
>>> same voice as jaws. It costs $6 from the oralux project. (Google
>>> it.) Voxin may not be as stable as  espeak but I like the voice much
>>> more.
>>> On 05/09/13 02:27, Tony Baechler wrote:
>>>> Hash: SHA256
>>>> What changes did you have to make to your daily routine when you
>>>> made the
>>>> switch?  I already use Firefox and Thunderbird here, but I'm still
>>>> primarily on XP.  I use my Linux server daily, but I purposely
>>>> haven't put
>>>> X on it.  I have a small 10 GB installation of Debian unstable with
>>>> X and
>>>> experimental, but Orca fails to work, or at least I don't have
>>>> speech when
>>>> I try to start it.  Speakup, of course, works great.  I pretty much had
>>>> the same bad experiences with Orca as other people and I didn't try
>>>> to do
>>>> anything fancy.  In fact, Vinux crashed almost constantly in Orca
>>>> but not
>>>> Speakup.  I had to use a Speakup console to kill my Orca session and
>>>> reboot.  I read on the Debian accessibility list to enable
>>>> experimental to
>>>> bring in the latest Orca improvements, but it didn't seem to help.  If
>>>> anything, it made things worse as I had a constant stream of broken
>>>> packages.  Now that Wheezy is out, I'll try again one of these days
>>>> soon-ish.  I'm not worried about moving my profiles over from
>>>> Windows, but
>>>> I'm more wondering about changes made from an accessibility point of
>>>> view.
>>>>   In other words, if someone with little to no Linux experience (not
>>>> me,
>>>> but someone else) wanted to make the full-time switch to Orca, how well
>>>> could it be done and what adjustments would they have to make
>>>> compared to
>>>> doing things the Windows way?
>>>> On 5/8/2013 10:57 AM, John G. Heim wrote:
>>>>> Huh, you're the second person in this thread to say that about orca.
>>>>> But I just decided to switch to linux full time a few months ago
>>>>> and it
>>>>> was pretty much a breeze.  I had been using that other operating
>>>>> system
>>>>> too but almost all the end users I support use linux (all good
>>>>> mathematicians do).  So I felt I was cheating by not using linux.
>>>>> But I
>>>>> have had little to no trouble switching to linux with orca. I use
>>>>> thunderbird & firefox constantly. It's not quite as good as
>>>>> Windows/jaws but honestly, I made the transition fairly easily.
>>>>> I am really shocked to hear all these complaints about orca. Not to
>>>>> doubt you. It's just   that it doesn't jibe with my experience at all.
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>>> --
>>> ---
>>> John G. Heim, 608-263-4189, jheim at math.wisc.edu
>>> _______________________________________________
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John G. Heim, 608-263-4189, jheim at math.wisc.edu

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