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open letter to Brailcom regarding Speech Dispatcher and SpeechD-Up

From: William Hubbs
Subject: open letter to Brailcom regarding Speech Dispatcher and SpeechD-Up
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2010 23:14:35 -0600

Brailcom Staff:

We, in the community, would like to thank you very much for all of your
work in the past on Speech Dispatcher and SpeechD-Up.  These products
have become very important for linux accessibility (in particular
accessibility for the GUI), and we want to thank you for them.

We are very concerned about the future of these projects.  The last
release of Speech Dispatcher (0.6.7) was in 2008, and the last release
of SpeechD-Up (0.4) was in 2006.

The Speech Dispatcher repository was migrated to git in July of 2009, however,
there has been very little activity there.  In fact, your web page was changed
to point to the tree maintained by Luke Yelavich and state that this is
the development repository.  Many changes have been made in that tree, and
Luke has prepared and released unofficial releases to get those changes out
to the community.  Active development is continuing in his tree as well.

SpeechD-Up, as it is in your cvs tree, is definitely broken; it does not work
with current speakup.  Patches have been sent to the list and been
encorporated by Luke into his tree, which he converted from cvs to git

Our concern is that we have seen no direction or response from you regarding
any of the community's work and no attempts by you to merge any of our work
into the official repositories.  Also, we have seen no direction or response
from you regarding future releases of these projects.

We feel that these projects are important for linux accessibility and
they need to be maintained for several reasons.

The Orca screen reader for the GNOME desktop has had support for
Speech Dispatcher for a couple of years now, and is quite usable for day to
day work. The community have been pleased with the alternative
Speech Dispatcher has provided, particularly since the desktop audio
landscape has recently been changing, and speech synthesis has had
to keep up with these changes, something which gnome-speech was not
designed to do. Now that GNOME 3 is doing away with bonobo and orbit
IPC mechanisms, Speech Dispatcher is in the best position to fill the
gap that gnome-speech leaves behind. The added bonus of this change is
that Speech Dispatcher is not tied to any one environment, whether it
be GUI or console. Speech Dispatcher is also ready to work on all
POSIX systems that GNOME works with, allowing an easy switch over of
text to speech services for orca, and other assistive technologies developed
for the GNOME desktop.

KDE SC 4.4 finally realizes the vision Gary Cramblitt had years ago to make 
kttsd just wrap Speech Dispatcher instead of having it's various plugins to
each speech synthesizer out there.  There are changes that will be needed or
at least wanted for kttsd to work even closer with Speech Dispatcher than it
currently does.  KDE is betting on Speech Dispatcher going forward, just as

SpeechD-Up is also important, because there are people who use it,
along with speakup, to give them access to the functions of
Speech Dispatcher as a software synthesizer for console use.

We would like to ask you about your plans for the continued maintenance of
these projects.  Are you planning on actively maintaining them?  If not, or if
you can't due to time, funding or other reasons, we in the community are
willing to take full responsibility for them and welcome you as contributors.

Could someone please post back to the list and give us an answer by
before March 2 utc?

With Kind Regards,

The Speech Dispatcher users community

William Hubbs <w.d.hubbs at gmail.com>
Jeremy Whiting <jpwhiting at kde.org>
Luke Yelavich <themuso at themuso.com>
Christopher Brannon <cmbrannon79 at gmail.com>
Kirk Reiser <kirk at reisers.ca>
Trevor Saunders <trev.saunders at gmail.com>
Andrei Kholodnyi <Andrei.Kholodnyi at windriver.com>
Willie Walker <walker.willie at gmail.com>
Bill Cox <waywardgeek at gmail.com>
Steve Holmes <steve.holmes88 at gmail.com>
Halim Sahin <halim at openblinux.de>
Jacob Schmude <j.schmude at gmail.com>
William F. Acker <wacker at octothorp.org>
Janina Sajka <janina at rednote.net>

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