[arch-general] customized ArchLinux install CD with speech support

Chris Brannon cmbrannon at cox.net
Mon Dec 8 19:27:11 EST 2008

I am happy to announce the first release of a modified ArchLinux CD for i686
with speech support.  The .iso should be almost equivalent to the FTP installer,
with one exception: it starts speaking at boot.

One may obtain the image via HTTP or via BitTorrent.
Download URL:  http://cmb.tysdomain.com/talking-arch-ftp.iso
Torrent: http://members.cox.net/cmbrannon/talking-arch-ftp.iso.torrent
Note that it is a trackerless torrent, and it won't work with older clients.
Thanks to Tyler for hosting the downloadable image.

The following list of steps is a brief guide to installing ArchLinux
with speech.
I haven't tested the install process, because my machines are all occupied.
If anyone has trouble with it, send me a private email.
The instructions assume that your root partition will be mounted on /mnt.
Change /mnt to something else if this assumption doesn't hold.

1. Use the installer on the CD, as per the beginner's guide.
2. Install the alsa-utils and espeak packages:
pacman --root=/mnt -S alsa-utils espeak

3. Install the speakup and espeakup packages.
These are not yet available in the community repository.
There are two ways to install them, depending on how much you trust me.

Alternative 1: Use the binary packages from my website.  I promise that
the speakup package will always match the kernel version available from
the official repos.
Append the following two lines to /etc/pacman.conf and /mnt/etc/pacman.conf:
Server = http://members.cox.net/cmbrannon/blind/i686
Install the packages from my custom repository:
pacman --root=/mnt -Sy speakup espeakup

Alternative 2: Build the packages from source, using the PKGBUILDs available
from unsupported.  For convenience, the URLs are:
If I were going to choose this option, I would probably chroot into the
newly installed ArchLinux system in order to build the packages.

4. Customize /mnt/etc/rc.conf:
Add speakup and speakup_soft to the MODULES array.  Add alsa and espeakup to
the DAEMONS array.
We 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

When you boot the system from the hard disk, it should start speaking. 

-- Chris
Disclaimers: I am in no way associated with ArchLinux.
This CD image is not an official release.  It is provided
solely for the convenience of myself and other blind / visually impaired
users.  It comes with absolutely no warranty.  Download and use at your
own risk.

-- Chris

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