Speakup and Braaille Lite 40: results of experiments

Cheryl Homiak chomiak at charter.net
Fri Oct 15 06:25:16 UTC 2004

Ok, when I first saw some of these posts, my first impulse was to start 
typing fast and furiously. but I decided a couple hours of experimenting 
might make my input more accurate. Here to the best of my knowledge are 
the answers to John's questions and related ones. Please note that I did 
not go all the way through an install--just through the cd integrity 
tests, the anaconda loading and hardware detection; I stopped at the 
screen where you choose your monitor settings.

what I used in this test:
a brltty.iso made from the boot.iso of the speakup-modified FC2 isos, 
dated October 7th
speakup-modified FC2-i386-disc1.iso dated October 11th (but same set as 
the boot.iso)
also tried a brltty.iso made from the FC2-i386-disc1.iso: don't do it; 
will explain later on.
a braillelite40 on my first serial port.
a doubletalk-lt on my second serial port (not used for all experiments)
a debian unstable linux  system
rhmkiso script from brltty-3.5.tar.gz

1. Can you use the speakup-modified cds without a braillified cd and get 
meaningful results?
If at boot of the FC2-i386-disc1 cd you type
text speakup_synth=bl

you will after a while get output on your display; you will be able to 
read some of it as it goes by. However, you won't be able to review it, 
control it or navigate it. this probably wouldn't be a lot of help.

2. Can you use a braillified iso and run the speakup-modified FC2 
contrary to the theories I read, at least as far as I went, on my machine, 
it was quite possible. However, see below for instructions; you must be 
careful which cd of the speakup-modified set you modify and you must be 
sure that the braillified cd is made from the boot cd of the installation 
set you want to use.
I was able to type at boot:
text brltty=bl (I didn't need other parameters; you might)
and was able to choose my language, keyboard and installation method. I 
then had to change to the first speakup-modified cd. I tested the 
integrity of the cd. Anaconda (the installer) was loaded; hardware 
detection took place; I went as far as the monitor settings and then 
turned back. I had no problems in navigating or in using my advance bars; 
there appeared to be no interference from speakup. I do understand the 
theories set forth in some posts that speakup would start and interfere 
with brltty. I can't explain to you why this didn't happen to me but it 
didn't. the only problem I had at all was that in a couple of trials (I 
did several) things seemed to freeze in hardware detection, but on the 
next trial everything was fine. So I'm not guaranteeing you this will 
work; I'm just saying it worked for me as far as I went.

3. can you use brltty and speakup at the same time?
It appears that you indeed can as long as they are on different ports. I 

text brltty=bl speakup_synth=ltlk speakup_ser=1

and had no problems as far as I went. The occasional stall during hardware 
detection applies here also.

4. can you use a braillified cd and yet use only speakup?
with my braillelite still on the first serial port, I tried:

text speakup_synth=ltlk speakup_ser=1
and speakup came up talking. Other than a FUN at the beginning on the 
braillelite and the AT during the hardware detection, the braille display 
didn't do anything as I recall.

If you will look at the documentation in the brltty source (I used 3.5 but 
you could also use 3.6 since it's just out) under Bootdisks you will find 
README.RedHat.cd and a script rhmkiso. If you will follow the directions 
in the readme you can make an iso that will work with the speakup set. I 
used this script  on my debian unstable system to make an iso. 
Do not use the iso on Dave's site as it matches 
only the official FC2; do not use the iso on the Speakup site as it does 
not match the current updated set of speakup-modified isos. Use the 
boot.iso to make your brltty.iso. Do NOt use the FC2-i386-disc1.iso as it 
appears the checksums are not updated and you will get complaints about 
not being able to verify the cd; with the FC2-i386-disc1 cd I also had a 
lockup in hardware detection but as I had random lockups in hardware 
detection in other tests I can not conclusively blame that particular cd.

Caveats and miscelaneous comments

1. Note the random lockups during hardware detection I had yet on a retry 
with the same procedure I usually did not have a problem.

2. If you accidentally type linux instead of text when booting you will 
have an opportunity to change to text mode a bit later so don't panic--I 
don't think this causes other problems later but of course I don't know 
for sure.

3. remember that you still will have to think through making sure that 
brltty will run at boot when you boot into your new installation. If you 
use an "everything" install, it will I believe be on your system but I 
don't believe it will come up at boot unless you set that up before you 
boot. so think everything through at the end of your install--or better 
yet plan ahead; do you want speakup? do you want brltty? do you want both? 
Set things up accordingly.

4. On some linux machines there have been problems with the running of the 
rhmkiso script; I confess that I have not explored whether these problems 
have been solved; I was able to run the script successfully on my debian 
unstable system.

I have done my best to run several trials of everything I describe here. I 
have done my best to be thorough in my descriptions, though it's very 
possible I have left something out or not made it all sufficiently clear. 
Nevertheless, if your system breaks following my instructions or if you 
are left stranded in the midst of an install, I will cry with you, I will 
empathize, i will do anything I can to help  BUT I offer no guarantees and 
take no responsibility for the end results. A series of tests for a couple 
of hours on one machine by one person who did not want to wipe out a 
current system to do a complete install--this is better than no test at 
all, but many things can still go wrong.


"Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

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