Re: Emacspeak on Mac OSX Revisited

  • From: Kerneels Roos <kerneels@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2011 13:54:40 +0200

Ken, specs as follows:
PPC Mac Mini,
1.41 GHz CPU clock,
512 MB RAM,
OSX 10.5.8 (Leopard),
Python 2.5,
Last Xcode released for Leopard PPC (Xcode 3.4.1),
latest everything else of the open source stuff (emacs, emacspeak and all dependencies installed by macports).

Have noticed a Python 2.7 installation in /opt somewhere -- probably done by macports -- but I couldn't get the mac speech server to run off it since it struggled to find Python modules. Not sure how to resolve that. It might be as simple as including some path in some env var -- any ideas?

It's not a fast machine as you can see from the specs, but it should be able to run console stuff effortlessly.

Some questions if I may:

001. Would running itt on Python 2.7 as apposed to the 2.5 version make a significant difference?

010. Is it possible that, although I did use macports to get latest emacs that it's still running some other, older emacs?

011. Is Command Key + F5, which toggles VoiceOver on and off, sufficient for getting VoiceOver out of the way?

100. Yes, binary numbering.... Just checking you are awake.

Florian, thanks for the Alt / Option / Meta key tip.


On 6/13/2011 12:32 PM, Ken Perry wrote:
Um it's not the terminal.  What python are you using?  What OS and such?  I
can tell you that on this Mac book pro laptop the emacspeak runs like a


-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Kerneels Roos
Sent: Monday, June 13, 2011 3:54 AM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Emacspeak on Mac OSX Revisited

Hi Ken,

It would open up emacs but without the usual default text, as if
something was blocking or failing. When I ran emacs it worked like emacs
should. And of course, no speech :-). As an aside, this is exactly the
situation I experienced before under linux when I then just gave up on
it, but read on for a more pleasant ending...

Well, Bart and Florian's posts put me in the right direction; I looked
at emacspeak/servers/mac, corrected the shabang at the top to point to
the proper Python:
#! /usr/bin/pythong
instead of
#! /usr/bin/python2.6

Then I saw that the python script wasn't executable, did:
sudo chmod +x  ./mac
and now, with VoiceOver turned off the testing of the speech server worked.

Emacspaek still didn't seem to work totally right, so what I did is to
make config, make emacspeak and finally make install after changing the
ownership of the code to my user instead of root. Although I *thought* I
did your instructions verbatim, it seems that a bit of creativity on my
part caused me to type:
sudo svn co [url of emacspeak repo] etc.
so what was happening was that svn got emacspeak as root, I compiled it
as root, installed it as root and then tried to run it as non-root :-)

After redoing everything (config, make) as my own user and only
installing as root, plus the DTK_PROGRAM=mac env var, plus the shabang
change, and with VoiceOver off... I slowly typed "emacspeak", held my
breath and slammed the enter button. Nothing, and then bang it started
talking; "My circuits are functioning perfectly -- where in the world
have you had a system saying that ha ha, quite retro!

So it finally worked, but with a snag or two;
1. the Alt, or Option key in Mac parlance doesn't seem to get picked up
so I had to use the alternative Escape key + whatever.

2. Also, the system seems very sluggish and normal cursor movements
would speak something, but then stop speaking (while the cursor is
actually moving around and then perhaps start speaking again. While
there is no speech you would just hear "beep" on every key press /
cursor movement as if it is thinking or you've reached the bottom of the
file (which is not the case, just the same kind of beep sound).

I thing the problems described above is partly to be blamed on the
Terminal program, so next I'm going to try Bart's way of running a Cocoa
version of emacs with emacspeak.

On my quest to get emacspeak working I delved into the docs in the svn
repo and man, without any intended insult to anyone, it is a big mess! A
few guys have written a lot of fine documentation, but it's very
fragmented and I couldn't find simple instructions on how the whole
speech server thing works. Also, there is docs there from way, way back
which most likely don't apply any longer. Docs labeled as containing
instructions on how to get espeak working with emacspeak doesn't have
that info in them and so on.

Docs on actually using emacspeak and all it's modes / add ons I haven't
looked at since I just wanted install and config instructions, so can't
say anything about that. I can totally understand why people would just
give up on trying to setup emacspeak since things are very confused ---
sorry if you wrote emacspeak docs and this offends you! It's not my
intention to offend but to constructively critisize.

Bart, that howto on how to get the mac version of the speech server to
work is a good project, but since the email you sent was apparently cut
off, where can I get the full version of that (if it exists already)?

I guess this is the situation with most systems that are many years old
(docs being fragmented). Emacspeak is still a very exciting prospect,
but it would help if we can have a comprehensive path of docs how to get
it running first and then Alex's tutorial and others can take over from

Since emacs comes in windows versions as well, would it not be trivial
to get emacspeak also working on windows? Perhaps a new speech server
written with Stefic's  phonemic?


On 6/10/2011 6:39 PM, Ken Perry wrote:
When you say it doesn't work what happens when you type emacspeak.


-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Kerneels Roos
Sent: Friday, June 10, 2011 4:08 AM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Emacspeak on Mac OSX Revisited

Hi List,

Good day to you all. I've meticulously followed Ken's instructions for
installing emacspeak on Mac OSX but it's still not speaking.
Everything downloaded, compiled and installed without errors although
macports did download a lot of stuff which I suppose emacs and emacspeak
depends on.

Emacs and even emacspeak does open, but no speech. The DTK_PROGRAM
environment variable is set -- if I do "echo $DTK_PROGRAM " in a
terminal it prints "mac".

I'm not looking for emacspeak or emacs help since that is well
documented by Alex's doc and others, but I am looking for more info on
how to get emacspeak working on a mac. Here are some basic questions of
which I didn't catch the answer although I've went through the posts

1. Do you have to turn VoiceOver off before you start emacspeak?

2. Can emacspaek work with the VoiceOver sub system and use the mac TTS
or do you have to use espeak?

3. Without actually running emacspeak is there a way to test all the
components separately?

4. Can emacspeak only work in the terminal version of emacs or could it
also work in a Cocoa version -- read something about Aqua Emacs ---
looks like a GUI version of emacs.

5. Has anyone managed to get emacspeak working on Leopard (OSX 10.5.8)?

6. Any other nifty programmers editors for Mac? My beloved VIM, both
terminal and GUI versions don't seem to play nicely with VoiceOver, or
shall I rather say VoiceOver doesn't seem to play nicely with them since
they are nice fellows!

7. I've asked before about a terminal program improvement over the
standard terminal app in Leopard, which also doesn't work properly with
VoiceOver. Any other ideas besides yassr and mactelnet?

8. Are there no full screen , basic terminal / console mode for OSX like
in linux Ctrl+Alt + F1 for which Braille or voice can work? When booting
and holding down Shift you get to a single user mode that is similar to
the linuc console, so this does exist although that one doesn't have
9. A clever way to access a mac is of course via ssh -- saw Florian was
doing this -- but then again no emacspeak possible there.

10. I understand emacspeak provides a sort of networkable speech
protocol similar to X Windows which in theory would enable you to write
a speech server placed anywhere on your network. How well does this
really work? Could you for example ssh into a mac, set the speech up on
emacspeak to use a speech server on the computer you are ssh'ing  from?

Many questions!

Thanks in advance for anyone attempting to answer some of these.


Kerneels Roos
Cell: +27 (0)82 309 1998
Skype: cornelis.roos

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