How Linux accessibility tools need improvement

Accessibility in Linux is good (but could be much better)

Posted 04 May 2015 by 

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Before I dive in, I suggest that you read 6 reasons people with disabilities should use Linux, which provides background for my article.

Gnu/Linux distributions provide great advantages over proprietary alternatives for people with disabilities. In this article, I'll discuss some of the advantages, as well as areas that need improvement. Because I use Fedora, my article is written based on my experience with that Linux distribution.

What's good

Built in accessibility tools

Unlike proprietary alternatives, Fedora (and other Linux distros with the Gnome desktop) includes accessibility tools out of the box, such as:

  • Screen reader: A text-to-speech system to read what's on the screen
  • Magnifier: Helps users with visual impairments who need larger text and images
  • High-contrast mode: Helps users who have trouble seeing text unless contrast is corrected, such as white text on a black background, or vice versa
  • Mouse keys: Controls the mouse using the number pad
  • Sticky keys: Helps users who have trouble pressing multiple keys at once, and users who have use of only one hand
  • Bounce keys: To ignore rapidly pressed keys or if a key is accidentally held down
  • On screen keyboard: Helps users who cannot type at all, but who can use a mouse
  • Visual alerts: Replace system sounds with visual cues

For information on changing accessibility settings or toggling the different tools on and off, visit Gnome's help by pressing F1 on Gnome desktops.

Open source licensing

The importance of open source when it comes to accessibility may not seem that big a deal at first, but it is. Depending on the tools you need to use your computer, accessibility tools for other platforms can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, and that's just for the initial software or hardware. Upgrades generally cost nearly as much. All the accessibility tools included in Linux are open source, meaning their code is readily available if you want to examine or improve it, and cost nothing. Hardware devices, of course, are still going to cost money. Additionally, accessibility software on other platforms generally contain licensing constraints on the user. That is, you are generally only allowed to use the software on a few computers at a time, depending on the license you've purchased.

Linux is different because you can install the operating system, including assistive technology, on as many computers as you want, without any license fees.

Distributions tailored to help people with disabilities

Versions of Linux designed for people with disabilities generally start with speech on by default, and contain selections of applications that are known to be accessible. Examples include:

They may also have a default theme and background that makes seeing them easier for people who have visual impairments. Knoppix ADRIANE, for example, uses SBL (Screenreader for Blind Linux users). Unlike specialized blind devices, the Linux distributions bring a bunch of unique advantages. They cost nothing, you can install any software you want (provided your distribution has it), and upgrades are free. This beats the alternative of expensive software maintenance agreements and a locked down environment.

Optional GUI

The desktop in Linux is optional; users can choose to run command-line programs instead. This means users can avoid potential graphics card incompatibilities because generally they are supported well enough to use text mode. Text mode also doesn't suffer from as many accessibility bugs that graphical programs often do.

The Linux kernel has a built-in screen reader, called Speakup, which, along with a software speech synthesizer like eSpeak or a hardware synthesizer like DoubleTalk, will read the screen to you. This might be an ideal option for extremely low-powered computers, where the desktop does not run well, or for those who don't need or want a desktop environment. Speakup also supports braille displays if you have the brltty package installed.

There are distros specifically designed to be accessible in text mode, as well as distributions that become accessible with an option at boot time, such as TalkingArch. Debian is accessible in text mode if you press s after you start booting the distribution (but before it boots).

Speakup is not included in Fedora's Linux kernel. I'm not completely sure why, but I think it's largely because the Speakup code has never moved out of the staging (i.e., unstable) area of the kernel tree, and Fedora doesn't include staging code. I don't understand why Speakup is considered unstable still, because it's not.

Choice of desktop environments

Linux also gives you a choice of desktops to use, but not all desktops are equally accessible, which I'll explain more later. Major Linux distributions are either accessible in their default .iso, such as Fedora and Ubuntu, or they include a version with an accessible desktop. Accessible desktops include Gnome, Mate, and Unity.

Independent installation and maintenance

Independent installation and maintenance is a huge advantage Linux has over alternatives. Because many Linux distributions come with accessibility tools built in, you are able to independently install, upgrade, and maintain your system, without having to rely on a sighted person. (Linux still has situations in which you might need sighted assistance, such as when entering the system firmware before booting, but I plan to improve this if I can.) This was not available on any other platform when I switched to Linux, but I understand that Windows now has an .iso you can use to install it; however, that .iso only runs on a limited set of hardware. Mac OSX has a screen reader built in (and possibly other accessibility tools), but that operating system and hardware is not an option for me because it is closed source and prohibitively expensive.

Linux accessibility could be much better

When it comes to accessibility, Linux is not without issues. Some problems are software related, such as bugs, but most are not. Here are a few Linux accessibility weak spots, and my suggestions for how to make Linux better:

Small accessibility community

The community of people with disabilities who are using Linux is much smaller other open source communities, which leads to a number of issues, such as slow-paced bug fixes. I'm not certain how many Linux users are blind, but relatively few of us take the time to give back to the community. We don't file bugs or write patches, so accessibility bugs can sometimes take a while to get fixed. But they do get fixed. One solution is to get more blind people using Linux. A bigger community, with more people filing bugs, could lead to a more accessible Linux. In my experience, the Fedora community really cares about accessibility, so when they know about a bug, they work to fix it quickly.

Small developer community

The number of developers who specifically work on accessibility tools is quite small. For example, there is only one Orca developer, two AT-SPI developers, and a single GTK developer. I don't know how many developers on other platforms are assigned specifically to accessibilit,y but I would guess the number is much higher. One obvious solution is to get more developers interested in—and hacking on—accessibility. This will give the already great accessibility experience in Linux a big boost.

Lack of highly specialized applications

Linux can sometimes be lacking in highly specialized applications, such as applications to handle the DAISY (digital accessible information system) book formats that are common in the blind community. There are a few applications to handle this format, but most have been abandoned or don't support the newer DAISY 3 format used by Bookshare. (DAISY books can be opened up in Firefox, and there is a software package called Emacspeak that can read them, so we're not completely without options.)

Linux also has a noticeable lack of audio games, as well as self-voicing applications. The solution to this might take some effort because these applications need to be developed and made available to blind users. As a sponsored project, Fedora could be in the best position to do this, but community developers would need to pitch in.

No support from blind government agencies and organizations

This isn't so much an issue as it is an annoyance. As far as I know, blind government agencies responsible for purchasing adaptive equipment for blind and disabled people have little (if any) interest in supporting Linux and open source projects. I have yet to find a good reason for this. On the plus side, if you are a blind Linux user and you run into an issue, there are several ways to get help; you don't need to call up your blind agency and start complaining over the phone. I'm not sure what a solution is here. This seems more like a PR or political problem rather than an issue of Linux lacking in any one area. If you are an open source enthusiast, and you depend on any type of assistive technology and you use Linux, I urge you to try to spread the word to blind users and blind agencies that there are other options out there.

General ignorance of accessibility among sighted developers

Developers who do not depend on assistive technologies tend to forget—or don't know—that a disabled person might want to use their applicaiton, read their web page, and so on. Obviously there are categories where accessibility would be difficult or simply impossible—sighted games and possibly video editors spring to mind—but the rest should be accessible to any disabled person, whether that means adding special support for screen readers to be able to access your application and its controls, or designing it to scale well so that people with magnifiers can use it without having to blow up their computer screens too much. The problem is not necessarily that developers do not care. Rather, it's is that accessibility is highly specialized and requires someone with knowledge in the area, regardless of platform.

Other issues could be the lack of built-in accessibility tests in user interface designing applications and too little documentation explaining how accessibility works. There are accessibility tests in Qt (and as a result, almost all apps written in either Qt 4 or 5 work across platforms with little trouble), but I'm not sure about other toolkits. There also is a tool in Linux called accerciser, which you can run while your application is running to test the accessibility of your app, but unless you have some knowledge of how accessibility works, the output won't make much sense.

The Gnome project has good developer documentation on accessibility, so if you're a developer and you just need an idea of how it works, check it out. From there you have links to all the geeky details.

Gnome is more accessible than other Linux desktops

The Gnome foundation employs developers who improve accessibility for that project, but other desktops are often less accessible, and in some cases aren't accessible at all. Communication and collaboration between desktop developers would help ensure that regardless of which desktop you use, you get a great accessibility experience. (If you are a developer of a desktop environment, please consider accessibility for the disabled when you're developing it. The small amount of extra effort can help you get more users.)

Smaller choice of text to speech voices

Linux does not have enough high-quality (i.e., natural) text-to-speech voices for screen readers. The main ones that are in use today include eSpeak and IBM ViaVoice. There are others, but Linux doesn't have as many options in this area as other platforms do. Once again, the smaller developer community is an issue. Once blind organizations and agencies get involved in Linux, hopefully this will improve rapidly.

Final thoughts

Despite all the issues I've outlined above, I am convinced that Linux is an obvious solution for the needs of the disabled. Accessibility has come a long way, and there is always room for improvement, but the cost savings of Linux, coupled with its open source model, make it ideal for anyone, and especially those of us who are unlucky enough to have a disability. I'm on a mission to help improve Linux accessibility and to get the word out about this marvelous, accessible operating system. I do this by filing bugs, idling in chat channels to help others when I can, and trying to get other developers and users interested in Linux.

If you are a disabled new Linux user, congratulations on either making the switch or adding Linux to your tool set. Many of accessibility shortcomings in Linux can be solved by growing its communities of users and developers. Linux's ability to work out of the box on most hardware, as well as being portable between hardware, makes it a good choice for anyone with multiple computers or devices. Linux communities are full of people who are enthusiastic about their software and distribution choices, and about helping others along the way. They may not always know about accessibility, but my experience is that they take accessibility seriously once they are aware of its importance. You can't ask for much more than that. If you are a new Linux user, or are thinking about making the switch but need help, there are many resources available, including:

There are also general open source accessibility mailing lists, as well as more distro-specific accessibility mailing lists. Searching online should help you find them. Also, distribution-specific IRC channels often include people who are willing and eager to help. If your target is specifically about accessibility, you might be better off emailing one of the lists above, or signing up to your distro's mailing list and posting there.

If you're a Fedora user, I'm always around on the users channel (#fedora on irc.freenode.net), and I'll be glad to help. You can also email me questions. If you have additions on accessibility tools and resources to add to this article, please let me know in the comments.

Improving Linux accessibility requires collaboration among users and developers, and needs people with disabilities to stand up for their rights to have an accessible experience with no extra cost, and to be able to examine, modify, and change the software they use. Thank you for reading.

16 Comments

Storm

Your forgot to mention that Mate is just as, if not more accessible, than gnome.

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kendell clark

hi. Absolutely, mate is a great desktop, and is very accessible. I specifically addressed mate in my draft, but the words got changed around a bit and it didn't make the cut lol. Mate does have some issues with it's panels speaking with orca, but other than that is very accessible. This isn't mate's fault though. This is mostly due to orca having to use code from the gnome 2 days to make the mate desktop accessible. Mate's biggest issue is lack of developer knowledge. None of the mate developers know how to fix accessibility bugs, and the one orca developer is so overworked she doesn't have time to work on other desktops. I cannot say this enough. We *need* new developers. More developers, more users, and a bigger accessibility community.

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JohnH

This is not very accurate. I love Linux, and I run it on servers and my spare laptop, but the accessibility is not good at all. It is nowhere near accessible for everyday use for someone with a disability that depends on accessibility features/software. I know this because I have a spinal cord injury and I am paralyzed from the chest down and in my hands. First, you can't turn sticky on and off from just the keyboard. There is no numberpad mouse support and a usable speech to text option is non-existent. There is nothing even remotely close to Dragon for Linux, Even Windows Speech Recognition (while really bad) is miles ahead of Linux options. Like I said, I would likely go to Linux completely full time if it was fully accessible, but it's honestly not even close. A lot of the third party software that is the de facto standard doesn't work on Linux either or not well enough to depend on.

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kendell clark

This is not entirely true. I'm not going to argue about speech recognition software for linux, this is definitely one area that needs improvements. The big issue there is probably the lack of good open source speech recognition engines and software patents. As for not being able to toggle sticky keys off and on using the keyboard this isn't true at all. To do this in gnome, you open the dash, start typing universal access, highlight typing assist (access x) press enter, and then press the button inside marked "enable using the keyboard." Why this isn't enabled by default I have no idea. I dislike windows. And I further dislike comments that imply windows is better than linux. Linux needs improving, that is undeniably true. In particular there needs to be good open source speech recognition engines. This probably falls under the category of specialized applications. I'm not going to get into a linux versus windows argument here. You will never convince me that windows is a better option than linux. Period.

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Storm

To use a blanket statement saying "It is nowhere near accessible for everyday use for someone with a disability that depends on accessibility
features/software" Is a flat out lie. I've been using Linux every day with its accessibility features (speakup and orca) from late 2007 on. I use it every day, it is my primary OS, and although there are some bugs, as in every OS. It is certainly usable full time. Granted speech recognition isn't available natively in Linux, but it can be used through wine. If one is determined to use Linux, the accessibility kinks work themselves out pretty easily. There is room for improvement of course. The flip side is true too. If one is looking for reasons to gripe, for reasons to not use Linux then I'm sure, in their mind, they can find those reasons. Such users are welcome to go back to windows, or Mac, and be someone elses problem.

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JohnH

I honestly don't have a dog in the Windows vs. Linux fight. I use both a lot. They are just tools in the toolbox. I also work for the federal government and everything released to the public has to be Section 508 compatible and making PDFs compatible is a pain. There is not a lot of good open source tools to get this done in a reasonable amount of time. I do agree it's moving in the right direction for Linux, but you just can't depend on most of the Linux tools to be completely reliable right now. Being on the right road and being close to the destination are two very different things. I should have rephrased that about sticky keys. Yes, you can get it on through the keyboard, but you have to cycle through a couple menus, versus hitting shift 5 times. I'm just saying that if you have use these everyday, the workarounds in Linux adds up right now, when people who need them just need it to work.

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Ky1e

I'm not sure what a section 508 is, but if it has something to do with accessibility, you will never get it from pdf. You go and tell your Federal Government bureaucrats that they should be using Open Document formats instead. Tell them that Open Document has even been supported in Microsoft Office since 2010. Tell them that Open Document formats are what we need, because we can read them. They are accessible to us, whereas Adobe's still largely proprietary and rather secretive PDF format will never be good for anything other than sending directly to a printer.

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kendell clark

I'll second that comment. I'm going to try to explain my reasons for using linux clearly, and why I feel windows is not a good alternative, for me and many others. This is going to be a bit long, so get some coffee or something. In order for windows to meet my needs completely it would need to do the following. Provide a screen reader and sound drivers on it's official installation image, along with a clearly documented method of turning them both on, so I could install independently. Support nearly any computer and computer architecture I put a usb drive containing an image onto. Be able to be booted on different hardware. That is, I could yank a hard drive out of one machine and transplant it in another, and it would boot, without blue screening on me or nagging about activation. It would need to be open source, and have it's source code available for public view and review. And to top it all off, it would need to give me far more control over it than any version of windows currently does, without bugging me about storing my settings in the cloud. This is what windows 8,1 and 10 currently do, though their may be a way around it. Last time I tried the windows 10 beta, which was yesterday, I got it installed, only to have the built in screen reader, narrator, focus on a window that was not accessible, and windows refused to let me continue until I'd completed setup. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, a person who works for the government is exactly what linux needs. If your fellow government employees would spend some of that energy they currently pour into windows and it's proprietary software and spend it on linux, the rewards would be amazing. I'm amazed linux has gotten as far as it has, seeing as how it has to rely on volunteer developers contributing to accessibility in their spair time. On top of this, there are at most a handful of developers contributing to the entire accessibility stack. In short, we need more developers and company support. The only reason windows has gotten where it is now is because of the government support, and all the companies falling all over themselves to support it. If those same companies supported linux as fervently as they do microsoft we'd be living in a different world. Those companies would need to get off their high horse and open up their source code, because I for one would not accept closed source assistive applications, regardless of how tempting they might be. End of rant. Linux has areas where it needs improvement. Absolutely. I'm going to see linux improve to the point where I don't have to deal with zealous comments from windows users, not that i'm saying you are one, if I have to dedicate the rest of my life to see it happen.

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Zeeshan

I am agree that Linux is awesome and it needs to be keep improving and i know it will improve a lot interns of accessibility. I am a totally blind student doing Programming and Networking in College. My goal is to develop and try to improve accessibility in Linux once I graduate my college. Currently I am in 2nd semester. I need some tips how to make the screenreader in linux more accessible.
I have having issues using my current UBUNTU 15.
first of all the voice is not very good and clear. I try out all the voices that UBUNTU offers such as e-speak and others. I wish Orca improves the sound quality. If there is any way that I can download the higher quality sound please will you give me some suggestions.
secondly I am using a default desktop that is setup on UBUNTU when we newly installed and screenreader has issues reading the menus such as bluetooth menu and the top main menu. Instead of pronouncing it, Orca pronounce image. I am wondering is there any way to improve desktop more simpler so it can be easy to navigate and easy for screenreader to read?
finally I need help to setup my operating system. For example will you able to provide me some tips and tricks that how can I make my linux more accessible to it will be easier for Orca to read the screen? I really need help and I really need to help to learn the Orca. I love to help improve linux accessibility.

I use to be a student in W. Ross Macdonald school for the blind in Brantford and I use to be a assisstence computer trainer there. I helped teachers and students in using screenreader on mac and iOS devices. I learned about linux when I joined my college. I am in 2nd semester now and I am going to use lots of linux and command line stuff so I need some help to prepare myself and need help to setup my operating system.
As I am hard of hearing I am finding a solution to improve the voice quality so its easy for me to understand what Orca screenreader is reading.

any help will be greatly appreciate. thank you

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chrys

Hi Kendell,

Good Article. I didn't know that speakup is still in staging. Maybe someone could ask ask for an reason on the KML?

one little thing -> there is a typo in the article:

"a single GTK developer. I don't know how many developers on other platforms are assigned specifically to accessibilit,y" in the word accessibilit,y

Keep it up!

chrys

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Don Watkins

Great article with a lot of very good comments.

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Tim

Completely agreed! I've always had issues with PDF files, for years now, evince seems to work ok with them, as does Libreoffice but seriously? winblows guys and adobe? we've basically had to fight to get the flash installer accessible, then it broke, then was accessible again, and Pd F's? unless you use something like ed sharp, even a large file is not easy to read, I Love my boxes, have 2 Ubuntu boxes, arch, Sonar, Vinux, and a Kali machine! use Linux every day, and yes, god does it need improving in areas, but, whats nice, is actually being able to open the boot logs, kernel and dmesg logs etc if suddenly booting goes aip shit which has happened and fixed it with a good ol text file, rather a conf file, one of the Long-standing issues I've encountered and this supposedly doesn't happen with gnome, though it use to in gnome2 etc is the accessibility of root applications, rare yes, but dammit! it comes in handy if one needs to use say, gedit, or Pluma in mate, or Gparted for those that use the Gui partitioning tools, I recently tried turning a local organization onto Linux, and while I praise them for actually using NVDA, and not flaws and that shark shit, the machines still cost about 100 bucks or so so that failed lol I installed Sonar on my GF's machine lol told her kids after countless times of going threw and removing crap! and adds on web pages, I said fine, we'll fix this, buy buy winblows, Hello beautiful dear Linux on a 500 GB drive!

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kendell clark

thanks a lot for the nice comment. Linux is absolutely not perfect, but it fits my needs completely. Root applications are not an issue in gnome, no. I don't know how they got around that, because they are still an issue in other desktops based on gtk2, like mate. A way around this is to use gksu to open the application, that usually works with orca. No idea why, but there it is. I've been trying to find out exactly what's going on here but my programming skills are very limited. I'm so tired of blind people outside the linux community being so sarcastic and hostile when I try to drumb up interest in linux. Snort! Linux? I use windows. You should too. It just works. Nvda is a fantastic screen reader. I use it whenever I have to maintain mellisa's windows box, and what I need to do cannot be done from within linux, but most of my windows maintenance is done from inside a fedora installation on her box. I have a serious dislike for windows. Windows itself isn't too bad, I suppose, but what I dislike in particular is the zealousness of the windows community. The idea that everyone should use it, regardless. Apple fans can be like this as well, but I don't want to start any flame wars. Suffice it to say that linux is what I use, and I'm intending to improve it. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Is windows? Absolutely not. Mac I have little experience with, other than booting fedora on my mom's mac once. The biggest issues linux faces is a lack of resources. We need more developers, and a bigger blindness and disabled community. Once we have that, you'll be amazed at how quickly linux improves. We also need google to get off it's high horse and add screen reader support to chrome/chromium, rather than forcing us to use chromevox, which in my opinion is unintuitive and just plain awkward to use. Firefox is another issue. I have zero proof for this, this is just my opinion, but I get the feeling mozilla puts a much higher priority on their windows accessibility efforts than they do their linux ones. Joanie, the orca developer, has had issues with mozilla refusing to fix known bugs because those bugs don't affect windows. Enough said. If you are a blind linux user, I urge you to subscribe to the orca list and help solve bugs. If you find a bug in an application, please email the orca list with an attached debug log. To generate one, open your run dialog or a terminal and type orca --replace --debug. Take whatever steps are necessary to reproduce the problem, then immediately close orca, either by running orca --replace or using alt+win+s to toggle it off and back on. The reason for this is debug logs are very, very verbose and can grow large quickly, Attach this to an email to the orca list. If joanie fails to respond, which can sometimes happen, I'll take a look, and file a bug against orca if necessary. Of course, you can file a bug yourself, if you know how. The idea is to get these bugs fixed, and orca improved.

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rfreed

"No support from blind government agencies and organizations

This isn't so much an issue as it is an annoyance. As far as I know, blind government agencies responsible for purchasing adaptive equipment for blind and disabled people have little (if any) interest in supporting Linux and open source projects. I have yet to find a good reason for this."

This is absolutely an issue. An annoyance would be lackluster support, knowledge and experience surrounding Linux and FOSS AT technology; this is an actual problem, and I've been witness to it firsthand.

About 3-5 years ago, when I first discovered various accessibility and assistive technology programs in Linux, I was overjoyed and thought this would be perfect to present to my state's assistive technology council. I took my trusty but underpowered netbook with me to meet with the director; they were....less than enthused. They didn't know much about Linux, but seemed to be firmly in the pocket of proprietary AT companies and felt there were too many unknowns to utilize Linux or FOSS beyond a few tips to deeply impoverished individuals and/or families.

I don't see much in the way of acceptance of Linux and FOSS in the world of AT right now; I firmly believe that accessibility and AT applications would receive more attention and better support/development if government agencies across cities, states and our country would act to adopt Linux as a part of their AT strategy.

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Celyle

Before a desktop can be considered "accessible," it has to be *usable* by a not-technical audience.

I recently set up a nice "Gnome classic" environment on Debian stable for a not-technical neighbor.
After a few months, her mobility-challenged roommate decided to do her a favor and turned on some feature (we never figured out what he did) that selected an "accessible" and "high contrast" desktop theme. Some desktop icons disappeared and the rest became unrecognizable. The "theme" selected black on black for the menu and toolbar fonts. Its "high contrast" window decorations make the windows indistinguishable from one another. None of us can figure out how to revert the changes.

This collection of misfeatures never would have made it past Software QA at any company where I've ever worked.

It occurs to me that what was known for decades as Usability Testing and is now called User Experience is not even unknown in the open software world, it's actively discouraged. Try opening a usability bug on any popular distro or desktop, or Mozilla, and see how fast the moderators remove it. I've even pointed out on Stackoverflow that a feature some hapless fellow is trying to use has never worked, only to have the comment removed by multiple users within a day.

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kendell clark

I'll be glad to help you. The default synthesizer orca uses is espeak, which can be a shock if you're used to more human sounding voices. If you've ever used a program called nonvisual desktop access, or nvda for short on windows, that's what it uses by default as well, although it has a voice in espeak that in my opinion is much better than the default. You have a couple of options. Linux does not have a lot of human sounding voices, so if that's what you want I'm sorry but you really don't have many options. But you have a couple of alternatives. If you want a more natural sounding voice, you can purchase a program called voxin, which is the old ibm viavoice that the jaws screen reader uses. It's an older version than the one used in windows and it's no longer maintained, but there are a lot of blind people out there that like it. If you're interested, you can buy it at http://voxin.oralux.net. It only costs five bucks, and you only need to buy it once. If you're willing to invest time and effort, you can improve espeak. What exactly is wrong with the voices? Are they just too harsh for your ears? Do you maybe speak a language other than english? If so, espeak is really one of your only options, at least in linux. Voxin can be bought in I believe six or seven languages, but if your language isn't on that list espeak is your best bet. We're always looking for native speakers of other languages to help us make espeak better. Other than espeak and voxin, there are commercial voices called cepstral, which can be bought, and installed, after which you can use them with orca. They're quite large, but if you want human sounding they're an option. If you're willing to make linux accessibility better I'd encourage you to join the orca mailing list, which is the main list for orca help. Also the espeak discussion list if you're interested in making espeak better. If you need any more help either comment here or send me an email and I'll help you as best I can.

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Kendell Clark is an open source advocate and Fedora user who has been using Gnu/Linux since August 2011. I love my wife melisa, my dog tigger, and gnu/linux, especially if has anything to do with accessibility