John G Heim jheim at math.wisc.edu
Wed Jun 8 09:45:59 EDT 2016

I have to dispute your assertion that serial ports have been unheard of 
on desktops for years. A basic Dell desktop still comes with a serial 
port. In fact, personally, I have never seen a desktop without a serial 
port.  I work for the University Of Wisconsin and of the hundreds of PC 
desktops I've worked on, every single one has had a serial port. At home 
I build my own computers so when I order a motherboard, I just make sure 
it has a serial port header block.

I'll grant that very few laptops have serial ports these days. But, to 
be quite honest, I don't think that's particularly relevant. I don't 
even think it's particularly relevant that many desktops don't have 
serial ports.  I doubt that very many people would use speakup on a 
laptop even if it worked via a usb port.  I doubt that very many people 
use speakup on their desktop on a daily basis. Don't get me wrong, 
speakup is sill a key part of the accessibility infrastructure but it is 
mostly valuable for servers and for rescue systems.

I know the opinions I've stated above are going to be controversial on 
this list. But I assert that the number of orca users vastly outnumbers 
the speakup users. And even orca users are probably a very tiny group. 
But, again, I am not saying speakup isn't important. My opinion is that 
it's extremely important because there are people who put bread on the 
table via speakup. Some of us literally couldn't do our jobs without 

In fact, this is an important consideration for the developers of 
devuan. We aren't talking about some bug in a Windows screen reader that 
makes it hard for someone to play sudoku on-line.  Admittedly there are 
other rescue systems around. But if devuan is to become a player, a 
distro that everybody is familiar with,  it's extremely important that 
it be accessible. This is not an exaggeration -- the ability of someone 
to feed their family might depend on it.

I don't know how a developer weighs those considerations. What's more 
important, a bug that keeps a thousand people from playing sudoku or one 
that keeps ten people from rescuing a web server that is down? I know 
where I'd come down though.

PS: I don't care how sudoku is spelled.

On 06/07/2016 05:30 PM, Zachary Kline wrote:
> Hi,
> Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t these only work if you have hardware serial ports on the motherboard? These have been virtually unheard of on modern desktops and laptops for years. If it were possible for Speakup to work with USB serial synthesizers, that would be ideal.
> Sorry for the thread hijack,
> Zack.
>> On Jun 7, 2016, at 3:26 PM, Gregory Nowak <greg at gregn.net> wrote:
>> On Tue, Jun 07, 2016 at 03:41:11PM -0500, John G Heim wrote:
>>> Once I was able to log in as root, I was able to get speakup
>>> working with software speech. No luck with my Tripletalk hardware
>>> synth though.  We had a thread about serial port hardware synths
>>> just a few months ago. IIRC, you had to put something in grub. I
>>> never got that to work and it doesn't apply here anyway. But I see
>>> there is a /dev/ttyS0 and I believe the most recent speakup patches
>>> require you to keep the kernel from creating a /dev/ttyS0 before
>>> they can load a speakup hardware synt driver module.
>> I don't have a tripletalk here, so can't comment. However, I can tell
>> you that I've tried using the devuan minimal i386 iso with a bns 640
>> via the speakup_bns module, and that works just fine. All I
>> needed to do is modprobe speakup_bns, and it came right up talking
>> through the bns. So, I know the bns driver at least
>> works right out of the box.
>> Greg
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John G. Heim; jheim at math.wisc.edu; sip://jheim@sip.linphone.org

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