BRLTTY works under Cygwin (sorta)

Lee Maschmeyer lee_maschmeyer at
Mon Aug 22 21:03:36 UTC 2005

Hi folks,

I've been playing with brltty under Cygwin. It now installs and runs fine on 
my system here at work. Last I tried, with the same brltty build number 
(1835) it did not work at home so there may be a problem; I'll know in a 
couple hours. :-)

I've been writing to Dave about various problems but he just now suggested I 
write to the list since he's not actually working on parts of this code; if 
this gets too much for others perhaps I should write to (Samuel?).

At any rate, latest findings are:

The default braille-device should be set explicitly to serial:COM1. When I 
allowed it to default to ttyS0 it worked but I got 1 startup problem. I 
thought this disappeared when I changed the assignment but I'm not positive.

For the benefit of others wanting to try this, here's what I (think I've) 
found so far:

You must use the latest subversion build of brltty. Go to, 
hit the Downloads link -> Development versions and follow the instructions 
to set up subversion and checkout the source. If you install everything in 
Cygwin subversion will be there; otherwise you can use Cygwin setup to get 

If you're on Windows 95 through ME or if you're using a USB display you must 
read the README.Windows file found in the Documents directory.

/etc/brltty.conf was not installed on my system; I had to copy it from 

The speech driver defaults to Alva. If you don't have an Alva with speech 
you should set speech to "no".

Changing the attributes table in the preferences menu does not carry over 
from one session to another. To make a permanent change (to attrib.tbl for 
example) it must be done in the config file or on the command line.

There are intermittent tracking problems. Not sure of their cause; exiting 
Emacs may be one way to trigger them.

When Cygwin loses focus, brltty does not relinquish the display. You get a 
"no terminal to read" message and about the only way to get rid of it (that 
I've discovered) is to go back to Cygwin and do something like

kill `pidof brltty`

When you do this, brltty does not terminate, but if I then go to the 
preferences menu it terminates pretty quick.

The Jaws "Braille Sleep Mode" facility works properly, or I can just 
terminate Jaws as a whole which may not be a bad idea since task switching 
is still pretty dodgy. I have no experience with other screenreaders. Sorry.

Hope this doesn't hinder the brltty folks and does help other interested 

Lee Maschmeyer
<lee_maschmeyer at>

"Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear
to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than
what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise."
     --Lewis Carroll 

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