software speech

Tony Baechler tony at
Sat Aug 23 05:47:28 EDT 2008

Samuel Thibault wrote:
> John Heim, le Fri 22 Aug 2008 11:59:58 -0500, a écrit :
>> For what it's worth, freedos & jaws for dos work really well as a dumb 
>> terminal for running cursor apps. I don't know of any Windows terminal 
>> emulators that work well enough with jaws to allow you to run cursor apps. 
> putty or cygwin should work just fine.


I can't speak for JFW users because I don't use it, but I can say that 
I've never had good results with any telnet or ssh app using a Windows 
GUI screen reader.  I haven't tried NVDA or System Access which both 
seem to have better command prompt support, but I can say that I had 
problems with putty and Cygwin.  Cygwin was far better, but not by 
much.  Mostly the problem is that lines aren't spoken.  For example, if 
I type something like this:

ssh -l tony

I never hear the prompt asking for my password.  I just have to wait a 
few seconds and hope it's there or try to use the mouse keys.  I have 
similar problems with my shell prompt, ncftp, etc.  I don't think this 
is strictly a Windows problem though as the Mac with VoiceOver did the 
same thing, even though I read the manual.  I agree that the best idea 
is to get either a live CD or basic Linux system up and running and ssh 
from that, go back to Windows 98 and use a DOS screen reader like I've 
done, or boot from a live CD which is what Tyler did.  The very old 
2004.3 Gentoo and grml live CDs both work well for the purpose.  I've 
not used Gentoo 2008.0 because I don't know if Speakup is included or not.

Getting back to comparing Putty and Cygwin ssh, at least I could usually 
make Cygwin work with effort.  I could never get putty to work reliably 
because it is not a console app.  Even using the mouse reading keys, 
often putty would do something weird with the cursor and I couldn't find 
my place on the screen, for example I couldn't find my shell prompt.  I 
had to turn on speak all to get any speech at all, not so with Cygwin.  
Then again, I use Window-Eyes and it doesn't have great command prompt 
support generally.  A normal cmd prompt won't read properly most of the 
time either.

More information about the Speakup mailing list