Difference between revisions of "TalkingArch"

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(description of the modified ArchLinux install CD that provides spoken output for blind users)
 
(Removed broken link to an outdated installation demo. Also referenced the #talkingarch IRC channel and support e-mail)
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[[Category:Getting and installing Arch (English)]]
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[[Category:Getting and installing Arch]]
[[Category:HOWTOs (English)]]
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[[Category:Accessibility]]
= Introduction =
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This page describes a bootable CD / USB image customized for blind users. The modified version is mostly equivalent to the official "netinstall CD", but the system should start speaking as soon as you boot with it. Speech is provided via the sound card, using the eSpeak software synthesizer and the Speakup screenreader. It is also possible to use a braille display, via brltty. You can obtain the image [http://talkingarch.tk/ from this page].
This page describes the  second release of a modified ArchLinux install CD that includes spoken output for blind users. The modified version is mostly equivalent to the official "ftp CD", but the system should start speaking as soon as you boot with it. Speech is provided via the sound card, using the eSpeak software synthesizer and the Speakup screenreader.
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It is only available for the i686 platform; x86-64 is not supported. There are two versions: an Isolinux version and a Grub version. One may obtain ".iso" images via HTTP.
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Grub:
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The image can be used with both the i686 or the x86_64 architecture. Also, it is suitable for either a recordable CD or a USB stick. Just download it and write it to the medium of your choice.
[http://cmb.tysdomain.com/talkingarch-2009.02-ftp-i686.iso download]<br>
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MD5 sum: 932d49d5093e50d8c5fb14527afd17fa
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Isolinux:
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A detached GPG signature is provided on the download page. The signature for the current iso build is made with the gpg key associated with the address '''chris at the-brannons dot com'''. The key ID is '''6521E06D'''. The fingerprint is '''66BD 74A0 36D5 22F5 1DD7 0A3C 7F2A 1672 6521 E06D'''. This information will change when the next build becomes available to reflect the new maintainers.
[http://cmb.tysdomain.com/talkingarch-2009.02-ftp-i686-isolinux.iso download]<br>
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MD5 sum: 28fa806a745e26424596259a71fc9d64
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== Credits ==
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=== Credits ===
This CD was produced by Chris Brannon, and the downloadable images are hosted by Tyler Littlefield.
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The build system, which is a respin of the Archiso releng configuration, is maintained by Kelly Prescott and by Kyle, and the images and main website are hosted by Kyle.
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Thanks to Chris Brannon, the past maintainer, and to the following people for submitting valuable feedback regarding this project: Chuck Hallenbeck, Julien Claassen, Alastair Irving, Tyler Spivey,  Keith Hinton, and many others.  Thanks also go to Tyler Littlefield, who previously hosted the files.
  
= Installing from the CD =
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== Installing from the CD ==
The following list of steps is a brief guide to installing ArchLinux
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The following list of steps is a brief guide to installing Arch Linux using this CD. The instructions assume that your root partition will be mounted on {{ic|/mnt}}.
using this CD.
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The instructions assume that your root partition will be mounted on /mnt.
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#When booting, Grub provides a very long timeout. Press enter once the drive stops spinning.
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#This is a dual-architecture .iso file.  You can just press {{ic|enter}} at the boot prompt, or wait for the bootloader to time-out. Your processor should be automatically detected, and the appropriate architecture should be loaded automatically. If you have a console speaker, you will hear a beep when the boot prompt is on screen. Otherwise, wait about 10 to 20 seconds after the CD starts spinning, or about 3 to 5 seconds after the system begins to boot from USB, and then press {{ic|enter}} to boot the image.
#Use the installer on the CD, as per the beginner's guide.
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#You are strongly encouraged to read the Arch Linux documentation, especially the [[Installation Guide]] and [[Beginners Guide]]. Do the installation procedure described in the [[Installation Guide]], as modified by the instructions below.
#Install the alsa-utils and espeak packages: <pre>pacman --root=/mnt -S alsa-utils espeak</pre>
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#You'll need to install the {{ic|espeakup}} and {{ic|alsa-utils}} packages. The [[Installation Guide]] mentions that you can install additional packages by appending their names to the packstrap command. For example, {{ic|pacstrap /mnt base espeakup alsa-utils}}
#Install the speakup and espeakup packages. These are not yet available in the community repository. There are two ways to install them.
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#Enable the espeakup systemd service by typing {{ic|chroot /mnt systemctl enable espeakup.service}}
##Use the binary packages from Chris Brannon's custom package repository.
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#You also need to save the state of the sound card, so that it will be retrieved on reboot. Execute the command {{ic|alsactl -f /var/lib/alsa/asound.state store}} and copy the file {{ic|/var/lib/alsa/asound.state}} to {{ic|/mnt/var/lib/alsa/asound.state}}. Alternatively, {{ic|alsactl -f /mnt/var/lib/alsa/asound.state store}} will do this with one command.
##:I promise that the speakup package will always match the kernel version available from the official ArchLinux repositories. Append the following two lines to /etc/pacman.conf and /mnt/etc/pacman.conf: <br>
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##:<pre>[blind]</pre>
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##:<pre>Server = http://members.cox.net/cmbrannon/blind/i686</pre>
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##:Install the packages from my custom repository: <pre>pacman --root=/mnt -Sy speakup espeakup</pre>
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##Build the packages from source, using the PKGBUILDs available from the Arch User Repository. For convenience, the URLs are: [http://aur.archlinux.org/download/speakup/speakup.tar.gz speakup PKGBUILD] [http://aur.archlinux.org/download/espeakup/espeakup.tar.gz espeakup PKGBUILD]. If I were going to choose this option, I would probably chroot into the newly installed ArchLinux system in order to build the packages.
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#Customize /mnt/etc/rc.conf: Add speakup and speakup_soft to the MODULES array. Add alsa and espeakup to the DAEMONS array.
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#You also need to save the state of the sound card, so that it will be retrieved on reboot. Execute the command "alsactl store" and copy the file /etc/asound.state to /mnt/etc/asound.state. Alternatively, alsactl -f /mnt/etc/asound.state store
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#When you boot the system from the hard disk, it should start speaking.
 
#When you boot the system from the hard disk, it should start speaking.
  
= Maintaining Your Speech-enabled ArchLinux Installation =
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== Braille Support ==
If you added my custom package repository to your pacman.conf file,
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The latest image includes brltty, for those who own braille displays.  The brltty package available on the CD was compiled with as few dependencies as possible.  It is packaged as brltty-minimal in the Arch User Repository.  If you wish to use braille, you will need to supply the brltty parameter at the boot promptAlternatively, you can start brltty from the shell, after the system has booted.
then you will be able to receive upgrades to the speakup and espeakup packages
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whenever they happenThis is infrequent.
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I rebuild speakup whenever ArchLinux provides a major kernel upgrade.
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When kernel version 2.6.28 replaced version 2.6.27, a new speakup package
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was available several hours after the new kernel was made available on
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the Arch mirrors.
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Everything should seamlessly work.
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= Mastering Speech-enabled ISO Images =
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The brltty boot-time parameter consists of three comma-separated fields: driver, device, and table. The first is the driver for your display, the second is the name of the device file, and the third is a relative path to a translation table.  You can use "auto" to specify that the driver should be automatically detected. I encourage you to read the brltty documentation for a fuller explanation of the program.
The ArchLinux developers build their CD images using a set of shell scripts and configuration files named archiso. I added a configuration to archiso that allows me to build accessible CDs. If someone wants to produce customized images containing Speakup, he can do the following.
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Grab sources using git:
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For example, suppose that you have a device connected to /dev/ttyS0, the first serial port. You wish to use the US English text table, and the driver should be automatically detectedHere is what you should type at the boot prompt:
git clone http://members.cox.net/cmbrannon/archiso.git
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arch32 brltty=auto,ttyS0,en_US
  cd archiso
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git checkout --track -b talkinginst origin/talkinginst
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All of my work is done on the "talkinginst" branch. The master branch
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mirrors the master branch from git://projects.archlinux.org/archiso.git
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Install the scripts contained in the archiso/ subdirectory of the sources.
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In order to create the image, pacman needs to be able to find the speakup
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Once brltty is running, you may wish to disable speech.  You can do so via the "print screen" key, also known as sysrq. On my qwerty keyboard, that key is located directly above the insert key, between F12 and scroll lock.
and espeakup packages.
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Add my custom "blind" package repository to /etc/pacman.conf on the host
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system, as described in the instructions for installing from CD.
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Change to the configs/talkinginst directory, and type "make ftp-iso".
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Alternatively,
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make BOOTLOADER=syslinux ftp-iso
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yields an image having Isolinux as its bootloader. There are several more targets for "make". For instance, ftp-usb produces an image suitable for a flash drive.
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= Additional Notes =
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== Maintaining Your Speech-enabled Arch Linux Installation ==
Presently, this CD is only usable with English-language speech.
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You shouldn't need to do anything extraordinary to maintain the installation. Everything should just seamlessly work.
  
= Disclaimer =
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== Mastering Speech-enabled ISO Images ==
The author of this modified CD is in no way associated with ArchLinux. The product is not an official release.  It is not endorsed by anyone other than Chris Brannon.  It is provided solely for the convenience of its creator and other blind users, and it comes with absolutely no warranty.
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This process is now fairly straightforward.  Just grab and install the talkingarch-git package from the AUR.  It depends on archiso-git, so you need that as well.  See /usr/share/doc/talkingarch/README for full instructions.
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== Further Resources ==
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TalkingArch now has an IRC channel at #talkingarch on irc.freenode.net. Feel free to drop in and talk to the maintainers or anyone else in the channel. You may also reach the maintainers by e-mail at support [at] talkingarch [dot] tk.
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== Disclaimer ==
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This is not an official release.  It is not endorsed by anyone other than its maintainers.  It is provided solely for the convenience of blind and visually impaired users, and it comes with absolutely no warranty.
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<!-- vim: set ft=Wikipedia: -->

Revision as of 06:00, 23 January 2014

This page describes a bootable CD / USB image customized for blind users. The modified version is mostly equivalent to the official "netinstall CD", but the system should start speaking as soon as you boot with it. Speech is provided via the sound card, using the eSpeak software synthesizer and the Speakup screenreader. It is also possible to use a braille display, via brltty. You can obtain the image from this page.

The image can be used with both the i686 or the x86_64 architecture. Also, it is suitable for either a recordable CD or a USB stick. Just download it and write it to the medium of your choice.

A detached GPG signature is provided on the download page. The signature for the current iso build is made with the gpg key associated with the address chris at the-brannons dot com. The key ID is 6521E06D. The fingerprint is 66BD 74A0 36D5 22F5 1DD7 0A3C 7F2A 1672 6521 E06D. This information will change when the next build becomes available to reflect the new maintainers.

Credits

The build system, which is a respin of the Archiso releng configuration, is maintained by Kelly Prescott and by Kyle, and the images and main website are hosted by Kyle. Thanks to Chris Brannon, the past maintainer, and to the following people for submitting valuable feedback regarding this project: Chuck Hallenbeck, Julien Claassen, Alastair Irving, Tyler Spivey, Keith Hinton, and many others. Thanks also go to Tyler Littlefield, who previously hosted the files.

Installing from the CD

The following list of steps is a brief guide to installing Arch Linux using this CD. The instructions assume that your root partition will be mounted on /mnt.

  1. This is a dual-architecture .iso file. You can just press enter at the boot prompt, or wait for the bootloader to time-out. Your processor should be automatically detected, and the appropriate architecture should be loaded automatically. If you have a console speaker, you will hear a beep when the boot prompt is on screen. Otherwise, wait about 10 to 20 seconds after the CD starts spinning, or about 3 to 5 seconds after the system begins to boot from USB, and then press enter to boot the image.
  2. You are strongly encouraged to read the Arch Linux documentation, especially the Installation Guide and Beginners Guide. Do the installation procedure described in the Installation Guide, as modified by the instructions below.
  3. You'll need to install the espeakup and alsa-utils packages. The Installation Guide mentions that you can install additional packages by appending their names to the packstrap command. For example, pacstrap /mnt base espeakup alsa-utils
  4. Enable the espeakup systemd service by typing chroot /mnt systemctl enable espeakup.service
  5. You also need to save the state of the sound card, so that it will be retrieved on reboot. Execute the command alsactl -f /var/lib/alsa/asound.state store and copy the file /var/lib/alsa/asound.state to /mnt/var/lib/alsa/asound.state. Alternatively, alsactl -f /mnt/var/lib/alsa/asound.state store will do this with one command.
  6. When you boot the system from the hard disk, it should start speaking.

Braille Support

The latest image includes brltty, for those who own braille displays. The brltty package available on the CD was compiled with as few dependencies as possible. It is packaged as brltty-minimal in the Arch User Repository. If you wish to use braille, you will need to supply the brltty parameter at the boot prompt. Alternatively, you can start brltty from the shell, after the system has booted.

The brltty boot-time parameter consists of three comma-separated fields: driver, device, and table. The first is the driver for your display, the second is the name of the device file, and the third is a relative path to a translation table. You can use "auto" to specify that the driver should be automatically detected. I encourage you to read the brltty documentation for a fuller explanation of the program.

For example, suppose that you have a device connected to /dev/ttyS0, the first serial port. You wish to use the US English text table, and the driver should be automatically detected. Here is what you should type at the boot prompt:

arch32 brltty=auto,ttyS0,en_US

Once brltty is running, you may wish to disable speech. You can do so via the "print screen" key, also known as sysrq. On my qwerty keyboard, that key is located directly above the insert key, between F12 and scroll lock.

Maintaining Your Speech-enabled Arch Linux Installation

You shouldn't need to do anything extraordinary to maintain the installation. Everything should just seamlessly work.

Mastering Speech-enabled ISO Images

This process is now fairly straightforward. Just grab and install the talkingarch-git package from the AUR. It depends on archiso-git, so you need that as well. See /usr/share/doc/talkingarch/README for full instructions.

Further Resources

TalkingArch now has an IRC channel at #talkingarch on irc.freenode.net. Feel free to drop in and talk to the maintainers or anyone else in the channel. You may also reach the maintainers by e-mail at support [at] talkingarch [dot] tk.

Disclaimer

This is not an official release. It is not endorsed by anyone other than its maintainers. It is provided solely for the convenience of blind and visually impaired users, and it comes with absolutely no warranty.