IBM brings text-to-speech to the Linux desktop

IBM Corp. researchers are bringing text-to-speech capabilities to the Linux desktop.

Previously, production versions of IBM's text-to-speech engine had been available only for the Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh platforms, said Rich Schwerdtfeger, an IBM software group accessibility strategist and chairman of IBM's Accessibility Architecture Review Board.

A few years ago, the company had made a beta Linux version of the speech engine available for downloading, but took it offline when it stopped working with later versions of the Linux kernel.

The speech engine, together with a screen reader, converts text on a computer screen to sound but does not enable users to issue voice commands to the computer, Schwerdtfeger said.

Wizzard Software Corp. of Pittsburgh is distributing the IBM-developed ViaVoice speech engine as a standalone product and a component in its Interactive Voice Assistant line of products.

List pricing for the standalone ViaVoice text-to-speech engine is $5 per individual user license with a minimum order of 200 licenses. Volume discounts are available.

(Posted Feb. 16. Corrected Feb. 17)

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