Older Computers and New Speech Engines

Martin McCormick martin at dc.cis.okstate.edu
Mon Dec 15 21:38:39 UTC 2008

	I got my wife to watch the screen of the laptop I have
been trying to install ubunto live on.

	You do definitely have to select the language first
which, if English, is just hit Enter after the CDROM  stops
pulling in files on the initial startup. F5 definitely takes you
to the Accessibility menu and 3 definitely puts you on the
screen reader heading.

	Hitting Enter twice after that caused a furious flurry of
CDROM activity that lasted for around 20 minutes punctuated by
both the small drum flourish and the longer chord with
percussion as ubuntu started up.

	About 15 to 20 minutes later, the frantic CDROM activity
stopped and a hush fell over the room. Would the voice soon say,
"Welcome to Orca?"

	No. It wasn't to be at least not yet. After all that
CDROM thrashing, we had an almost black screen with a little
blue line near the top, dead silence from the speaker and,
strangely enough, the mouse pad was talking to something because
one could swirl a finger around the mouse pad and little lines
would flash around on the screen. The CDROM drive woke up again
after each of these touches to the mouse pannel but nothing else
ever happened.

	This is a Dell Enspiron CPU from about 2001 and I bet
ubuntu is confused about the video and possibly audio drivers.
Obviously, some of the audio worked, but no speech nor video.

	I tried Alt-F2 which provoked another spasm from the
CDROM drive but nothing else useful happened.

	That's the report for now. Time to hit the ubuntu list
for any suggestions as to possible boot options that may force
it to do things it can't figure out on its own.

	The laptop does presently run on the old oralux
installation. I had hoped to log in to it and use dmesg to get a
full report of the devices found regarding sound and video, but
that dmesg doesn't report any details about sound and video
devices, only that soft-synth is enabled and the speech from the
speaker already tells me that.

Martin McCormick

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