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[Emacspeak] Re: Introducing myself and a request

One thing I find about Arch and the distros they depend on, like
ArcoLinux, is that because they are a 'rolling' release, they do tend to
be a little more fragile and you do need to ensure you do updates very
regularly. What I tend to do is run a very stable Linux as my main
'host' machine (such as Ubuntu LTS) and then, run virtual machines to
experiment/play/learn wiht other distributions (like Arch Linux).

In fact, after playing around with pipwire on an Arch virtual machine, I
ended up breaking things so badly that I'm going to delete the virtual
machine and re-create it fresh. This is what I like about using virtual

With respect to Emacspeak, there are some Emacspeak manuals in the Info
system (Try running C-h i in Emacs to bring up Info). Also there is some
good documentation in the html and etc directories of the Emacspeak
repo. T.V. Raman also has an Emacspeak blog at

The announcing of capitals is something you can customise. Try running
the command

M-x customize-group <enter> emacspeak

where M-x means hold down the 'alt' key and hit x, type customize-group
and hit enter and at the prompt type emacspeak. This will create what is
called a customization screen where you can set various settings, which
by default will be written to a special section at the end of your
init.el file. This is just one way of customising Emac and Emacspeak and
probably the easiest for beginners.

With respect to additional packages. My recommendation would be to hold
off on that for a while. Get comfortable with the basic system and then
later look at additional packages. The reason is that adding additional
packages is quite easy, but there are a lot and it is very easy to end
up with a system which is confusing, more difficult to understand and
more difficult to adjust when issues come up. If you wait until you are
more familiar with the core Emacs and Emacspeak packages, you will have
a better chance of understanding how things fit together, know which
packages are useful and most importantly, know how to fix things or
adjust them to suit your needs.

Emacs and Emacspeak give you a really powerful environment. I use them
daily and do almost everything inside Emacs. However, with this power
comes a certain level of complexity. If you go too fast, you run the
risk of ending up with an environment you don't really understand and
this makes it much harder to fix when things go wrong. While there is a
lot of good information about Emacs and Emacspeak out there, there is
also quite a bit which is not so good. If you don't spend some time with
the core system and getting to know it, you won't be able to know which
advice is good and which is bad (all of this could in fact be bad

After you have gone through the tutorial, the Emacspeak and Emacs
manuals and played with things a bit, make sure you spend a little time
trying to write some small Emacs lisp functions. An understanding of
Emacs lisp is extremely useful and it actually isn't that hard to learn.
Rather than looking for a package to solve small problems, try writing
some simple elisp functions to solve the problem yourself. It will
likely be a little frustrating at first, but you will appreciate the
rewards when you actually write something which you can use and which
works for you. this is largely where the power is - Emacs is one of the
few environments where you can actually customise it to suit how you
like to work rather than forcing you to work the way someone else
decided you should work.

good luck!

Cisco Tissera via Emacspeak <emacspeak(a)emacspeak.org> writes:

> Hello Tim and all,
> So, before reading this email, I decided to clean install Arch, with mate as my desktop environment, and pulseaudio as my audio server, and guess
> what? it all got fixed! not just emacspeak, but even some other problems I was having with some apps not liking gtk4.
> Now that everything's fixed though, some questions arise: other than the emacs tutorial, what tutorials would you recommend?
> What packages would you recommend and how would I go about installing them?
> I am also having an interesting, mostly annoying, problem as well: whenever I run emacspeak, every word it says, capital.
> So, for example, capital welcome capital to capital gnu capital emacs.
> Is there a way to fix that?
> Thanks again for everything.
> Best regards.
> Francisco.
> On Sun, Jul 25, 2021 at 3:12 AM Tim Cross via Emacspeak <emacspeak(a)emacspeak.org> wrote:
>  Hi Francisco,
>  today I setup a virtual host running arcoLinux. I installed pipewire and found that for some reason, the espeak
>  server will not work with pipewire. I have no idea why it won't work - possibly espeak-ng needs to be built with
>  native pipewire support or perhaps some other translation layer needs to be installed. Problem is, I don't know enough
>  about pipewire to diagnose the issue.
>  At this point, I would say your out of luck with respect to using Emacspeak and pipewire.
>  In case it is of interest to others, here is what I found.
>  * You can build the tclespeak.so library fine.
>  * when you run servers/espeak, you here espeak say "Espeak 1.50"
>  * At the % prompt, if you do q {Hello World} <ret> d <ret> the server just
>  hangs. No speech and the prompt does not return.
>  * If you then attempt to run Emacs with Emacspeak, all appears to work, but after the initial "Esepak 1.50" announcement, you get no speech
>  and no errors. Auditory icons with sox worked fine.
>  I was running espeak and pipewire fro the official arch repositories. I've not yet tried using the packages from community/aur, which may be
>  later and which may work better. My suspicion is that espeak needs to be built with native pipewire support (previously, I found you could build
>  espeak with specific support for pulse, port audio or alsa. Not sure if it yet has pipewire as another supported sound library.
>  Regards,
>  Tim
>  –
>  Tim Cross
>  For gor sake stop laughing, this is serious!
>  From: Cisco Tissera via Emacspeak
>  Subject: [Emacspeak] Re: Introducing myself and a request
>  To: Tim Cross
>  Cc: emacspeak(a)emacspeak.org
>  Date: Sat, 24 Jul 2021 21:36:14 +1000
>  Hello there,
>  Thanks again for the answer, I got a step further!
>  Now, when I start emacs, both from gui and terminal espeak speaks it's version, and what sounds like eloquence announces in my left ear, this
>  is emacspeak!
>  However, when I try to navigate with arrows, tab, or anything else, nothing works. espeak doesn't talk, no sound icons can be heard either.
>  Any idea why?
>  Thanks again, and thanks for the tip about replying to all, I read it, and I forgot about it.
>  Best regards.
>  Francisco.
>  On Fri, Jul 23, 2021 at 8:28 AM Tim Cross <theophilusx(a)gmail.com> wrote:
>  Cisco Tissera <audiogamer2004(a)gmail.com> writes:
>  > Hello Tim and all,
>  >
>  > Thanks for the answer.
>  > I'll begin answering your questions one by one:
>  >
>  > Have you used Emacs before? Emacs is a bit different to most editors and can
>  > be a little daunting at first. Understanding what level of familiarity you
>  > have with the editor can help with deciding what level of detail/information
>  > you need.
>  >
>  > I haven't used Emacs before, no.
>  > I have heard that it is quite different from other editors around here, but that's one reason why I am so curious to try it out.
>  > I like how Emacs can be extended to include or exclude certain things.
>  OK. You will want to go through the Emacs tutorial at some point. As
>  emacs is an old editor, some of the terms used can be a little confusing
>  at first. This is partly due to the age of the editor and partly due to
>  certain terminology being hijacked and changed. For example, what other
>  systems call a window, emacs calls a frame and what emacs calls a window
>  is more similar to what other systems call a pane or tab or even buffer.
>  So a frame can have multiple windows and these windows will contain
>  buffers. You will also hear about key bindings (similar to shortcuts)
>  and many other unusual terms (like yank for copy). Thing is, persevere
>  and you will get there. You will find the key bindings (shortcuts) to be
>  a little strange, but avoid the temptation to change them initially.
>  There is actually a lot of logic and consistency in them once you get to
>  know them. One thing great is that you can do everything just using the
>  keyboard - much faster than using a mouse.
>  > Are you running under a GUI (i.e. X or Wayland) or just running inside a
>  > Linux console. If a GUI, which window manager or desktop environment?
>  >
>  > I am using a GUI, gnome 40.
>  >
>  OK. Emacs can run either in GUI mode (with its own frames (windows) or
>  it can run inside a terminal emulator. I prefer to use it as a GUI. 
>  > Are you using any other assistive technology, like Orca, speakup, etc?
>  >
>  > Yes, I am using Orca built from the master branch from Github.
>  >
>  OK, you will probably want to run Emacs in GUI mode. If you run int in
>  gnome terminal, you may run into conflicts between Emacspeak and Orca.
>  If you run it in GUI mode, you can have both Emacspeak and Orca running
>  at the same time. 
>  > I have both pipewire and sox installed, although I just installed it after reading your email.
>  > I am using espeak-ng in conjunction with speech-dispatcher right now, and I just tried making the espeak engine, but I cannot find the
>  directory, for
>  > unknown reasons.
>  > Furthermore, I added this line to the .emacs file i created myself in my home directory
>  > (load-file "/home/francisco/.cache/yay/emacspeak/src/emacspeak-54.0/lisp/emacspeak-setup.el")
>  > Did I do something stupid?
>  > Thanks for any answer.
>  > best regards.
>  > Francisco.
>  >
>  Emacspeak is one of those few programs which are far better run directly
>  from the git repository. I would uninstall any Emacspeak package you
>  have installed with yay or pacman. Instead, do the following
>  Check out the Emacspeak git repository into a directory in your home
>  directory e.g.
>  git clone https://github.com/tvraman/emacspeak .
>  Then change into the native-espeak directory with
>  cd emacspeak/servers/native-espeak
>  and run make to build the espeak shared library used by Emacspeak. You
>  will need the tcl and espeak development files. I'm not sure what the
>  convention is under Arch, but under Debian/Ubuntu, these are usually
>  called something like libespeak-dev and tcl8.6-dev or similar. If the
>  make runs without errors, you then need to verify the server works by
>  changing into the servers directory and running the command ./espeak.
>  You should here the espak server speak the version and then be left at a
>  tcl promp e.g. a %. You can then enter
>  q {Hello World} <enter>
>  d <enter>
>  and you should here the server speak "hello world". If this all works,
>  then you need to change into the root of the emacspeak repository and
>  run the following commands
>  make clean
>  make config
>  make
>  This will configure and build the emacspeak sources.
>  Then delete the .emacs file you created and create a directory within
>  your home directory called .emacs.d e.g.
>  mkdir ~/.emacs.d
>  then use a text editor of choice and create a file within that directory
>  called init.el I use vi for little tasks like this. The vi editor is a
>  handy editor to be familiar with because you will always find it
>  installed on a Linux system. However, it has an unusual modal editing
>  mode which can be confusing at first. Any text editor will work. Some
>  people like nano e.g.
>  vi ~/.emacs.d/init.el
>  In that file, add the following lines
>  (add-to-list 'load-path (expand-file-name "~/emacspeak/lisp"))
>  (setenv "DTK_PROGRAM" "espeak")
>  (setenv "EMACSPEAK_DIR" (expand-file-name "~/emacspeak")
>  (load-file (expand-file-name "~/emacspeak/lisp/emacspeak-setup.el"))
>  Save the file and then you should hear Emacspeak speaking when you start
>  emacs. There is a lot more you can configure and you will want to add
>  lots more to your init.el file, but to start with, this should be
>  sufficient.
>  > On Fri, Jul 23, 2021 at 12:32 AM Tim Cross via Emacspeak <emacspeak(a)emacspeak.org> wrote:
>  >
>  >  Hi,
>  >
>  >  Welcome to the list. I'll start with a couple of questions which might help
>  >  provide more accurate information when you have more questions.
>  >
>  >  1 Have you used Emacs before? Emacs is a bit different to most editors and can
>  >  be a little daunting at first. Understanding what level of familiarity you
>  >  have with the editor can help with deciding what level of detail/information
>  >  you need.
>  >  2 Are you running under a GUI (i.e. X or Wayland) or just running inside a
>  >  Linux console. If a GUI, which window manager or desktop environment?
>  >  3 Are you using any other assistive technology, like Orca, speakup, etc?
>  >
>  >  I"ll start by saying I have no experience with pipeWire, so what follows has a
>  >  lot of guesswork and assumptions in it.
>  >
>  >  The only part of Emacspeak which needs to know anything about the underlying
>  >  audio infrastructure is the text-to-speech synthesizer and playing of auditory
>  >  icons via some 'generic' play program, like sox or pulseAudio paplay or Alsa aplay
>  >  programs. For the TTS synthesizer, if you can get espeak/espeak-ng to work, your
>  >  80% there. If you have some program on your system which can play *.wav files,
>  >  then your 90% there - the rest will just be a little configuration tweaking.
>  >
>  >  Of course, how well it works with pipeWire is another question. A lot will
>  >  depend on the latency of the system. Early pulseAudio versions had some problems
>  >  in this area, but I've been using it with Emacspeak now for years without any
>  >  problems at all. As pipeWire is still fairly immature, you are likely to run
>  >  into similar issues initially.
>  >
>  >  Emacspeak relies on external programs for speech and playing of auditory icons.
>  >  It doesn't really need to know about the underlying sound infrastructure.
>  >  Provided you can get these external programs working, you have a good chance you
>  >  will be able to get Emacspeak working. However, you may need to do some
>  >  additional configuration - especially for auditory icons, in the sense of
>  >  tweaking the variables in Emacspeak which control what programs and arguments
>  >  are used to play the icons.
>  >
>  >  Here is what I would do -
>  >
>  >  1 Verify you can use espeak from the command line. This is critical. If you cannot get espeak to work from a CLI, you are sunk.
>  >  2 If espeak works from the command line, you next need to verify you can build
>  >  the espeak TCL interface library in servers/native-espeak by switching into
>  >  that directory and running make. This assumes you have all the necessary
>  >  dependencies installed. The default setup of the Makefile is configured to
>  >  work well under Debian/Ubuntu and may need a little tweaking for Arch. The
>  >  main problem people run into here is not having the necessary build
>  >  dependencies installed or in the paths searched when compiling - this
>  >  includes the espeak dev libraries and the Tcl dev libraries.
>  >  3 If you are able to successfully build the espeak server, you then need to
>  >  verify it is working by changing into the servers directory and running
>  >  ./espeak. You should here the server speak, saying that it is running and
>  >  be left at a Tcl prompt where you can enter some commands to queue some text
>  >  to speak and then speak it. You can queue some text for speaking by doing q {Hello world} [enter] and then d [enter] and you should
>  >  here the speech
>  >  "Hello world".
>  >
>  >  If you get to this point, you have a mostly working Eaacspeak setup. The
>  >  next thing you will need to do is set various variables to play auditory icons.
>  >  Personally, I just use the sox program to do this. However, both alsa and pulse
>  >  audio have CLI programs to play basic *.wav files. I expect pipeWire probably
>  >  has something equivalent - you will just need to configure Emacspeak to use it.
>  >  Note that Emacspeak works fine without auditory icons - they are an optional
>  >  enhancement which provide some valuable feedback, but are not essential.
>  >
>  >  Good luck!
>  >
>  >  Regards,
>  >
>  >  Tim
>  >
>  >  –
>  >  Tim Cross
>  >
>  >  For gor sake stop laughing, this is serious!
>  >
>  >  From: Cisco Tissera via Emacspeak
>  >  Subject: [Emacspeak] Introducing myself and a request
>  >  To: emacspeak(a)emacspeak.org
>  >  Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2021 06:29:03 +1000
>  >
>  >  Hello everyone,
>  >
>  >  My name is Francisco, and I am a highschool student who started getting into Linux a few months ago.
>  >  I started with Arch, switched to Ubuntu, Fedora, and then returned to Arch Linux.
>  >  I would like to get up and running with emacspeak so I can see what it can and can't do, and see if it suits my needs, however, I
>  cannot, and
>  >  here is why: I am using pipewire on arch linux as of now.
>  >  When I wrote on the blinux mailing list, linux for blind, I got told that sadly emacspeak does not work with pipewire yet.
>  >  <I do not have any intention of removing pipewire and installing pulseaudio, because that would disrupt my workflow for far too long.
>  >  As of now I am using arch linux with gnome 40 and orca master.
>  >  Now, after all that has been said, I'd like to ask if anything could be done about emacspeak to make it work with pipewire.
>  >  I have no coding knowledge so I won't be able to help in the development, if any will be done, but I will surely test out the git package
>  in the
>  >  aUR or whatever if you so ask of me.
>  >  Best regards.
>  >  Francisco.
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