More on Adding speakup to wheezy, Conditionally good news

Martin McCormick martin.m at
Mon Dec 12 20:11:16 UTC 2016

	Since adding speakup to an existing linux installation is
not hard, I just tried it on a raspberry pi running wheezy.

	The ARM wheezy kernel has the speakup modules in it so I added
speakup_soft to /etc/modules and then did
apt-get espeakup while logged in to it remotely from a system
that already talks. There were no complaints so I got the
headphones, plugged in to the audio jack and remotely rebooted
the pi. It came up talking but it's not all good. There is a long
stream of error messages about sound modules and some other
process appears to contend with resources used by speakup as
there are intermittent periods of a rhythmic stoppage of
voiceover at a rate of about 20 beats per second followed by
periods of perfect speakup speach. The effect reminds me of
listening to someone yell in to a fan. During the rhythmic
stoppages, speakup slows down in speech rate but not pitch. The
speech just quits for about a twentieth of a second and then

	Interestingly enough, the built-in audio interface in the
pi can both speak and play music at the same time. When the
digital hiccups are happening, the music still plays properly but
speakup is having a fit so it's just the speakup process that is

	There are also periods of many seconds in which the
hiccups stop and speakup is working fine.

	It has now been about an hour since I rebooted the
raspberry pi with speakup added and the seizures are mostly gone.
The problem appears to be related to tasks that are going on just
after boot and after an hour of normal operation, whatever tasks
are interfering with speakup appear to no longer be a factor.
Speakup mostly just works with an occasional rough patch that I
probably wouldn't hear if I wasn't listening for it.

	One final observation. I plugged an older-style Macintosh
keyboard in to one of the 4 usb ports on the pi. Most of the keys
work but a PC-style usb keyboard or a real keyboard plugged in to
a usb adapter probably works better as some of the keys on the
Apple keyboard don't respond as one might expect.

	I had kind of expected the GUI to come up but I had a
command-line login prompt and it just works when you log in. This
is pretty neat, actually as you get a talking unix terminal that
mostly works perfectly for around 50 Dollars.

	The system is currently running 24/7 to record radio
traffic via a usb sound card so if speakup's presence blows up
the radio logging program, I'll let everybody know.

	So, does speakup work on a raspberry pi? Yes but I give
it a B+ so far because of the contention issues that make the
speech really goofy for several minutes followed by much

Martin McCormick

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