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Installing speechd-el with word echo: here's how I managed it

From: Veli-Pekka Tätilä
Subject: Installing speechd-el with word echo: here's how I managed it
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 2008 03:20:41 +0300

Hi list,
I've finally gotten the latest tarball working on my system. The word echo 
really helps, big thanks for the feature. Since this was not exactly easy as 
a Linux newbie, I'm posting some instructions on how to do this, in case 
someone might find it in the archives later on.

1. I got the latest release on this page:


by activating the link cvs snapshot.

2. I uninstalled my current version of speechd-el using synaptic. I did not 
touch my ~/.emacs file and the Lisp library it depends on eieio was not 
uninstalled either.

3. As root in the gnome-terminal, I had to figure out where my Emacs load 
path is. It is something like:
/usr/local/share/emacs/... (cannot check while posting this)

I found a post about it here:


You should find your equivalent easily by tabbing for auto complete when 
cd:ing around as root.

4. Next there was unpacking the tar.gz archive. I could normally use the 
extract here context menu entry in Nautilus but I don't know how to become 
root in Gnome, so that was no good. In stead, I ended up extracting it in 
the root of my Emacs loadpath using tar as documented here:


5. Of course it created a subdir which proved problematic. I learned the 
hardway subdirs of the loadpath are not scanned, just the root unless you 
tell otherwise. I don't know enough Lisp linked list syntax to append to a 
list, which would be
push @path, 'something'; # for a Perl array.
So I just copied the files back to the root, of the load path then.
Then I rm -r:ed the original dir, though could have used mv in stead.

6. Next, the rights were wrong. Since root is doing the file copying, the 
*.el files are not by default readable by anyone else. Again I don't know 
the groups I belong in as a user, since I haven't found that info in Gnome. 
As many shell scripts, at least Perl scripts do, do need the execute flag to 
work right, I issued experimentally:
chmod 755 *.el
At least nobody else can write to those files.

7. The last step was compiling. There was already a file called makefile in 
there so make would use that. Rather than install, I said:
make compile
and it did the right thing.

8. Now rerunning Emacs got my shiny speechd-el babbling jus fine.

9. The final thing was changing the word echo to words. That involved:
alt+f2, gedit ~/.emacs, ctrl+end and adding:
(setq speechd-speak-echo 'word)

All this took about 2 hours for me to figure out and I almost gave up at 
some point. Well, it will be 5 minutes the next time I need to do this, I 

10. I've now associated Emacs with speechd-el with .txt files 
experimentally. That, too, was hard to find. The default app is in the 
properties for a txt file, on one of the tabs, though surely file types are 
not particular to a single selected .txt file. I found the placing illogical 
since it was not in system/prefs. Anyway, I made txt files open with the x11 
version of Emacs and am relatively happy now as far as speechd-el goes. I 
might have questions on setting the default rate to max, default eSpeak 
voice to US English and so on, but let's leave them to another time or 

With kind regards Veli-Pekka T?til?
Accessibility, Apps and Coding plus Synths and Music:

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