Older Computers and New Speech Engines

Martin McCormick martin at dc.cis.okstate.edu
Thu Dec 11 14:21:48 UTC 2008

	Over the last several days, I have tried the ubuntu Live
CD, the alternate ubuntu CD, ubuntu-server 32-bit version and a
totally different distribution called grml.

	All were tested on a Dell laptop that is about 6 years
old but ran Windows XP before. It is pretty powerful in that it
is a 1-gig processor with 256 megs of RAM and the sound card
does definitely work.

	So far, the only distributionthat ever worked with
speech was the last oralux image. An old GRML which is 
speakup-based showed promise until I actually started to install
it at which time that spelling bug due to kernel contingencies
took over which ruled that out as far as I am concerned.

	The oralux distribution talks well until you connect a
serial port to something and then it's that spelling thing
again, probably due to the interrupts that occur as each serial
character arrives. Again, not acceptable. It is also

	After listening to the very useful ubuntu demo on
blindcooltech, I tried the minimum start with speech which is to
wait until the disk slows down, Hit F5, 3, Enter, Enter.

	There is sound which, according to the demo, occurs when
you log in and a longer chord which reminds me kind of of a Mac
booting up that you hear when orca starts. After that, utter

	The latest GRML is also mute. The cheatcodes.txt file in
the grml directory on that CD tells you to type

grml swspeak=speechd

	Again, dead silence after the booting completes.

	Is it just me or do these newer engines not run on Dell
computers from around 2000? Actually, as I think of it, one of
those desktops is a Gateway.

	I have tried 1 laptop and a couple of desktops that
already run Debian Linux and sound and do so quite well.

	I figure if I get one of these to talk properly, I can
get away from the old DOS, external synth and kermit method.
That works even on old 8086 systems, but some of that stuff
could vote and by beer now.

	I am not afraid to build kernels and hack (positively),
but it's kind of hard to do that with no way in to a system one
is working on.

	Any ideas? Yes, I know I could buy all new computers.
These I have access to are what we might call middle-aged, not
ready for the recycling center yet.

Martin McCormick

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