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Installing Speakup in Ubuntu

I was told that speakup isn’t as difficult to install any more because you don’t have to recompile the kernel any more, So, I thought I would give it a go. It took a few minutes, but over all, it was very easy to get it up and running. If you too would like to install speakup, here are the instructions. Thanks goes to Paul Hunt for helping with the instructions. This was done an a Dell Studio 1536 running Ubuntu Intrepid.
First, we need to install the git-core package. In a terminal, type:
sudo apt-get install git-core
After that package is installed, get the speakup packages with this command:
git clone http://www.linux-speakup.org/speakup.git
This one takes a while, so play a game or something, but keep checking back on it. It will finish eventually. After that happens, it is time to compile and install. To do this, type:
cd speakup/src
make
sudo make modules_install
After the above three commands have completed, you need to move some files around because they aren’t installed in the right place. Enter the following commands:
cd /lib/modules/`uname -r`/extra/speakup
sudo cp * ..
Once that has been done, activate by typing:
sudo depmod -a
Now everything should be ready. So to start the module, type:
sudo modprobe speakup_soft start=1
So that you don’t have to type the above line every time your computer is restarted, do the following:
sudo vi /etc/modules
This will open the vim text editor. Press the escape key to make sure you are in command mode. Use down arrow to move to the bottom of the file. Once there, press shift A to get in to append mode. Type the following line exactly as it is here:
speakup_soft start=1
Press the escape key to get back in to command mode. Then type the following to save and exit vim:
:wq
Once you press enter the file will be saved. To get espeak working with speakup, do the following:
cd ~/speakup/contrib
unzip espeakup with the following:
bunzip2 espeakup-0.60.tar.bz2
tar xvf espeakup-0.60.tar
then install:
make
sudo make install
Launch it with:
sudo espeakup –default-voice voice name
So, for US English, the command would be:
sudo espeakup –default-voice en-us
You can add espeakup to /etc/init.d/rc.local, so you won’t need to launch espeakup every time your system is restarted. Place the line at the very end of the file.
You can not use speakup with plain old gnome-terminal. You need to open a text console. You can do this with control+alt+f1 through f6. You can get back to your normal desktop with control+alt+f7. when you bring up the text console you will need to log in with your user name and password. You can read the speakup manual in the ~/speakup/doc directory. For those of us who don’t like using key echo, you can disable it. You need to be root to make this change, so type:
sudo su – root
then, to disable it, type:
echo 0 > /sys/module/speakup/parameters/key_echo
after that is done, type exit to logout from the root account. To do this automatically, add it to /etc/init.d/rc.local. There are other parameters you can change as well such as volume and rate. In the above command change the number 0 to 9 and key_echo to rate to set the voice rate.
echo 9 > /sys/module/speakup/parameters/rate
That’s about it, have fun. Remember, when you find a setting you like, just add it in to the end of /etc/init.d/rc.local to make it happen at startup.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Sometimes in Ubuntu, you will want to create global keyboard shortcuts that aren’t possible in the keyboard preferences in the system menu. There are a couple of ways to do this, but probably the easiest is a program called xbindkeys. To get it, open terminal and type:
sudo apt-get install xbindkeys xbindkeys-config
If you are using Orca, the screen reader, you don’t need to get xbindkeys-config because Orca doesn’t work with it.
The first thing to do after the program is installed is type:
xbindkeys –defaults > ~/.xbindkeysrc
This basically creates the initial settings for xbindkeys in the file called .xbindkeysrc
After that is done, type:
xbindkeys
this command starts the xbindkeys daemon. In order to have it start at login, go to system, preferences, session. On the additional programs tab click add then type xbindkeys in both the name and command boxes. Click add then click close and it will start automatically on login.
To create a keyboard shortcut, you can launch the gui, called xbindkeys-config, by pressing alt-f2 to open the run dialog and type:
xbindkeys-config
For Orca user, the process is a bit different. Because xbindkeys-config doesn’t work with Orca, you will need to open the .xbindkeysrc file and edit it directly. To do this, in your home directory, type:
gedit .xbindkeysrc
This will open the file in text editor. Once that is done, use the control-end keys to quickly navigate to the bottom of the file. Move up 3 lines. The bottom 3 lines are basically just a fancy ending for the file. On a blank line above the three bottom lines, you can type in your keyboard shortcut. This consists of two lines. The first is the command you want the keyboard shortcut to execute. To launch orca, for example, you would type the word orca surrounded by quotes:
"orca"
On the second line comes the actual shortcut. In our example, we shall use control plus alt plus o as the shortcut. So, to put it altogether:
"orca"
control+alt + o
Press control-s to save the file and close gedit. Now, control-alt-o will launch orca. This can be done for any program you choose. It works on Kubuntu, Ubuntu, and Xubuntu.

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