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Re: [Kenny Hitt] Re: Is Debian appropriate for accessibility?

"juan rafael fernández" <jrfern@gmail.com> writes:

> I write documentation. Lately I decided to write a survey of the state
> of the art as regards a11y. Unfortunately I had to add the Oralux
> lines (thanks Gilles Casse; by the way thank you you both for the
> espeak packages) in my sources.list to be able to check cicero,
> freephone, txt2pho, or some mbrola voices (well English is not the
> only language in the world, I need voices for Spanish, French, Italian
> and German as they are taught in our schools)... yes, I know some of
> these are DFSG non-free, but what is non-free for?

I don't remember 100% what the state of mbrola and non-free was.
Personally, I have much hope in espeak, or equivalent aproaches.
Mbrolas license is very restrictive, which I consider a problem, no matter
if it is non-free distributable or not.

In any case, it would be nice to have a voltuneer working on this, if
mbrola is actually non-free distributable.

> As regards festival, we only have 1.4.3-17.2 in Debian, but Alan W
> Black has had 1.96-beta around for a long time now (check
> http://www.speech.cs.cmu.edu/awb/fftest/festival-1.96-beta.tar.gz).

Ah yes, you are refering to http://bugs.debian.org/327541

It would be nice if the festival maintainer could find time to
get a new upsteram release packaged.

> To be able to run Orca on my Etch I had to use the gnome cvs and
> compile and install my own versions of pyorbit, gnome-speech,
> java-access-bridge and of course orca.

I've recently read pyorbit is avaiable through experimental, maybe that
was not true when you tried to get orca working?

If you have any trouble with gnome-speech, I would have liked to know
about it.

java-access-bridge is a totally different issue, we really
need volunteers to work on java accessibility in Debian.

Does java-access-bridge build with free java tools these days? (gcj?)

> Not very end-user friendly, is it?

I agree with you, however, it would have been nice to know about it
earlier.  debian-accessibility is the list to use in such cases.
We want to know if you have to take a hand-stand to get certain accessibility
related software working on Debian, so that we can look at if we can improve
the situation for our users in the future.

> I aliened the lsr rpm, but the application doesn't work (I guess it's
> a configuration problem, but anyway I have enough with Orca).
> I also made up my mind to uninstall esound and uncheck arts (I use
> both gnome and kde for my tests) and I still have problems with
> different applications fighting to block the audio output (yes, I've
> also read that alsa's dmix is the solution, but tell the applications,
> not me).

A good spot!  All remaining OSS-only speech producing software
needs to be patched to support alsa natively.  Or, alternatively, we should
try to push speech-dispatcher, which solves the issue on a different level.

> What I want to come to is that my heart and my sympathy is with
> Debian, but we have to recognise first that the field is not mature
> and secondly that the speed of progression in Ubuntu is ashtonishing.
> I would never suggest a user with accessibility problems to use
> Testing (or Sid) and Sarge is geological ages old. Ubuntu's EE or FF
> are state of the art milestones.

Yes, the slow release cycle, the desktop areas of Debian are suffering
from it.  At least I do use testing for about everything I do,
and very seldomly have problems, but I agree with you, that is no solution
for the "average" user.

> My conclusion: I agree with you that a11y needs much work, and hard
> work needs support. And I also believe that free software in general
> needs an accessible Debian distribution. How, I couldn't tell.

Thans for your feedback!

  Mario | Debian Developer <URL:http://debian.org/>
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