The following are the installation instructions for LSR. The instructions are written for a user installing from a stable source archive, Subversion, or .rpm or .deb package. These instructions were last updated for LSR 0.5.2.

System Requirements

  • 800+ MHz PC with 512 MB RAM (for GNOME), sound card, keyboard
  • Linux OS with GNOME 2.16 and Python 2.4 or higher
  • IBM, DECtalk, Clique Audio, Eloquence, Loquendo, Swift, Theta, Espeak, FreeTTS, Festival, or other Linux text-to-speech engine (optional)
  • Hardware Braille display (optional)

Satisfying Dependencies

Required Packages

The following are the hard package dependencies for LSR:

  • gnome-common >= 2.12.0

  • gnome-python2-gconf >= 2.12

  • python >= 2.4

  • pygtk2 >= 2.8.0

  • pygtk2-libglade >= 2.8

  • pyorbit >= 2.14

  • at-spi >= 1.7

  • gnome-python2 >= 2.12

  • gnome-python2-bonobo >= 2.12

  • glib2 >= 2.10.0

All of the required libraries can be installed or updated using the yum tool on a Fedora Core system.

su root
yum update
yum install gnome-common gnome-python2-gconf pygtk2 pygtk2-libglade pyorbit \
  at-spi gnome-python2 gnome-python2-bonobo glib2 intltool

Most, if not all, of these packages are already installed on a typical Fedora Core setup.

In Ubuntu 7.04 the following apt-get will add the required packages

sudo apt-get install gnome-common at-spi python2.5-dev libglib2.0-dev

Optional Packages

The following sections describe optional packages that you may install to gain speech, Braille, and magnification services in LSR.

Enabling Speech

At least one of following must be installed for speech output:

  • pyibmtts >=

  • gnome-speech >= 0.3.9 (for DECtalk and Festival)

  • speech-dispatcher >= 0.6 (for any engine it supports)

When LSR starts, it will attempt to detect an available output device in the following order:

  1. IBM TTS
  2. DECtalk
  3. Eloquence
  4. Loquendo
  5. Cepstral Swift
  6. Cepstral Theta
  7. Espeak
  8. FreeTTS
  9. Speech Dispatcher
  10. Festival

The first output device to initialize properly will be used as the default. You may activate the settings dialog with Alt-Shift-S to change your preferred device at runtime.

IBM ViaVoice TTS with pyibmtts

If you wish to use IBM TTS, both the commercial speech engine and and the pyibmtts Python module must be installed. pyibmtts may be downloaded for free from ibmtts-sdk project. The README included in the pyibmtts package has detailed help on installing and satisfying its dependencies.

See the FAQ for instructions on purchasing the IBM TTS engine.

All other Speech engines with gnome-speech

Supported speech engines include Festival, Eloquence, Loquendo, Cepstral Swift, Cepstral Theta, Espeak, and FreeTTS.

If you wish to use only Festival, you can install gnome-speech using yum:

yum install gnome-speech

If you wish to use any of the other speech engines you must build and install gnome-speech from source. First, make sure you have installed the supported speech engine. Then, do the following to download, build, and install gnome-speech:

cvs -z3 co gnome-speech
cd gnome-speech
./ --prefix=/usr
make install

See the FAQ for instructions on purchasing one of these speech engines.

Speech Dispatcher

Speech Dispatcher allows you to configure a speech engine externally to LSR and then use it while running LSR. Documentation on installing and configuring Speech Dispatcher is available on the free(B)soft website.

Enabling Braille

brltty >= 3.8 and brlapi >= 0.5.0 must be installed to enable Braille support in LSR. As of March 16, 2007, there is no stable release of either of these package. The code must be obtained from Subversion, compiled, and installed manually. Be aware that following these directions may overwrite your current version of BrlTTY!

svn checkout svn://
cd brltty
make install

Once installed, configure and run BrlTTY following the directions in the included README. Since this version is still in development, changes to BrlAPI may render the support for Braille in LSR unusable at any time. Solid support for Braille will be available in LSR when BrlTTY 3.8 and BrlAPI 0.5.0 stabilize.

When LSR starts, it will attempt to contact BrlTTY and begin using the configured Braille device. See the user guide for available Braille commands.

Enabling magnification

gnome-mag version 0.13.1 or higher is needed for magnification services. The latest stable version of gnome-mag can be installed using yum:

yum install gnome-mag

As of January 11, 2007, the latest development version of gnome-mag provides a number of improvements over the current version. You can get it by doing the following:

svn checkout gnome-mag
cd gnome-mag
make install

When LSR is started under the mag profile, the magnifier loads immediately. The magnifier is not part of the default user profile, but can be added to it. See the user guide for the necessary steps and for more information about the available magnifier settings.

Getting LSR

LSR may be obtained from a stable source archive, from unstable CVS, or from a package built by a third-party contributor.

From source archive

To install LSR from a source archive, unpack the LSR source, build it, and install by typing the following:

tar xzf lsr-0.5.0.tar.gz
cd lsr-0.5.0
su root
make install


To view the LSR source without checking it out of Subversion, see the ViewCVS listing for the LSR module.

To get the bleeding edge version of the LSR source from Subversion onto your machine, do the following:

svn checkout lsr

Navigate into the ./lsr directory and then type the following to build and install LSR:

su root
make install

From a third-party RPM

Download the RPM and then enter the following:

rpm -Uvh lsr-0.5.0.rpm

Upgrading profiles

After updating LSR, you may want to update your profiles so that they include the latest and greatest Perks, devices, dialogs, and so on. This step is not performed automatically to avoid changing your preferences without your permission. This command only changes the built-in profiles. Any additional profiles you may have created are not affected.

To update the default LSR profiles, enter the following command:

lsr --init-profiles

In pre-1.0 versions of LSR, there may be some incompatibilities in your settings between versions. If you are having trouble after an upgrade, you may try deleting your settings so LSR can start from scratch. To delete your settings, enter the following:

cd ~/.lsr
rm -rf .

Running LSR

On Fedora Core, LSR creates a shortcut in the GNOME menu bar under the System-Accessibility menu. On Ubuntu it's System-Preferences-Accessibility. Selecting the Linux Screen Reader item will start LSR running under the default 'user' profile.

To start LSR at the console under the 'user' profile providing speech and Braille services, enter the following:


If the lsr command exits with a message saying desktop accessibility is not enabled, log out of GNOME and then log back in before running LSR again. LSR automatically enables accessibility support when it detects that it is not set, but all applications must be reloaded before the change can take effect.

To start LSR at the console under the 'mag' profile providing magnification services, enter the following:

lsr -p mag

To start LSR using the 'developer' profile providing speech, Braille, and debugging services, enter the following:

lsr -p developer

To kill an instance of LSR at the command prompt, press Control-C in its terminal window. To kill all instances started using another method, type:

killall lsr

To get a list of command line options, type the following:

lsr -h

To get an even more detailed list of options, invoke man as follows:

man lsr

The user guide provides more details.


All strings in the spoken and visual LSR user interface can be localized. If you wish to create a translation for LSR, please contact one of the authors (see AUTHORS file). We can provide you with a simple template for creating the translation.

The appropriate translation should be loaded based on your current system locale. To force a particular locale start lsr with the LANG environment variable set to your desired locale.

LANG=en_GB lsr


You may need to run certain applications with the GTK_MODULES environment variable set to gail:atk-bridge in order to make them accessibile. This is a legacy requirement for some apps, not an LSR requirement. For instance, to ensure gaim is accessible, run it using the following command:

GTK_MODULES=gail:atk-bridge gaim


Check the FAQ for questions related to your problem. If all else fails, post an email to the LSR mailing list at requesting help.

Attic/LSR/GettingStarted (last edited 2013-11-21 22:56:08 by WilliamJonMcCann)