Console screenreaders

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Wed Sep 30 18:54:46 UTC 2020

I'm personally a fan of SBL, particularly for it's
hold down caps lock and use arrow keys to navigate the screen like a
text document" style of screen review and it generally only reading
the output from verbose commands that I tell it too instead of trying
to read absolutely everything like espeakup does... though admittedly,
I prefer espeakup's more verbose style when playing classic infocom
text adventures in Fizmo or Frotz since I don't have to manually
review the output of every action. I also find SBL works better with
scrolling curses-basedapps as espeakup has a bad habit of reading a
line that just scrolled on screen instead of the line that just came
into focus when the two happen simultaneously.

Sadly, SBL is, as far as I know, only available for OpenSUse and
Knoppix as a precompiled package, and even then, Knoppix only has an
i386 version and the .deb isn't readily available ever since Alioth
was taken offline and too the Knoppix repository with it. SBL isn't in
active development either as far as I know, though I can't say I've
noticed any issues with the current version's age.

About all I know about Fenrir is that it's userland-based while
espeakup requires the speakup kernel module and that it's written in
Python. I believe it also uses Speech dispatcher, which might make
using software speech synths other than espeak/espak-ng easier in some
cases(I've never had issues with espeak-ng, so I can't really comment
on other synths).

I know even less about YASR than Fenrir, but I understand it requires
a hardware speech synth to function properly.


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