odd question?

Tony Baechler tony at baechler.net
Mon Dec 14 11:07:29 UTC 2015

On 12/13/2015 3:13 PM, Karen Lewellen wrote:
> what i was asking in a way you answered, that new  kernels, do not support
> hardware speech.

Yes and no.  Yes, standard Debian and Ubuntu kernels don't support serial 
speech.  There are apparently patches for some kernels which allow them to 
support serial speech, but they aren't officially supported and you'd have 
to compile your own kernel.  I know of someone who is apparently using such 
a kernel, but I haven't got around to applying the patch and compiling it. 
Frankly, it's a pain to compile a custom kernel and often has little to no 

> In a totally different thread you indicated the need to compile  Linux with
> an old kernel, as in not  the current one, for hardware speech.
> I am asking to confirm this in case I must explain why I do not want a more
> current distribution with this Kernel problem.

No, you can run any distro with any kernel for the most part.  I'm running 
Jessie with packages from testing while keeping my old 2.6.32 kernel from 
Squeeze.  However, if your kernel is really old, you'll run into performance 
issues and broken packages, like udev.  I can't run the latest udev from 
Jessie because my kernel is too old, meaning I had to stay with an older 
version that works.  It might be better in your case to compile a custom 
kernel.  I think kernel 3.16 does support hardware speech with the patch 

> Frankly the fact squeeze is about to stop being supported has no impact on
> how  I intend using this Linux box, assuming it ever gets off the ground.

Yes, it does.  If you don't get security fixes, you're leaving yourself wide 
open to attacks and vulnerable software.  On a more practical level, 
packages like Lynx don't get updated.  See above about running really old 
kernels.  You'll have devices stop working and your system could become 
unbootable.  For example, my USB card reader is really slow, probably 
because of the old kernel and udev combination.  If you do upgrade to 
Jessie, systemd is the default init and you'll be forced to upgrade your 
kernel or go through a lot of extra work.  If you don't care about security 
and just want a play box, it doesn't matter I guess.  The way I resolved it 
is to do everything with ssh.  That way speech was no longer an issue and I 
could upgrade my kernel.

> so to keep it simple, current kernels do  not support hardware speech any
> longer Is this right?

Yes, to keep it simple, official kernels no longer support hardware speech 
even though the modules are shipped.  If I load the DECtalk Express module, 
the system locks up.  I've tried with several different kernels, both 32-bit 
and 64-bit.  Apparently someone did get it to work, but I've not been able 
to reproduce it.

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