Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Through the Looking Glass with Debian Lenny!

This week I have been experimenting with the latest Debian 5.0 release, code-named Lenny after the talking, walking binoculars in the Pixar animation Toy Story. I began by installing the full desktop version of Lenny onto one of my desktop PC's and found that Orca was not installed by default. So after enabling all of the repositories in the software sources list I downloaded Orca and once configured it ran with no problems. I then installed YASR and Festival but could not get YASR to run with Eflite or Festival, and had no luck getting Orca to use Festival either. No error messages, just silence! Then I got a bit more adventurous and decided to install and configure speech-dispatcher in user mode, something I have not been able to get working using Ubuntu 8.10 without losing multi-channel sound support. And low and behold it worked first time, very responsive speech and multi-channel sound simultaneously! This is probably because Debian Lenny doesn't use PulseAudio like Ubuntu and speech-dispatcher works much better with Alsa. However I couldn't get it to work with Festival of Flite either. Not the end of the world though, if I have Orca, Speech-Dispatcher and Espeak all working nicely out of the box it is less likely that people will want to use YASR or Festival anyway (and I think YASR can be set to use speech-dispatcher as well). So I hope to create an experimental version of Vinux based on Debian 5.0 in the near future and then let members of the Vinux Development Forum have a play with it. It will have most of the same features and setup as the Ubuntu version with the exception of no USB pendrive installer as yet, but with the addition of Speech-Dispatcher out of the box and the Remastersys text based installer.