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I'm helping teach a Linux class, and we have a blind student. We're using Debian 9 inside a virtual machine as the students' Linux boxes. We were able to (somewhat) successfully install using speech synthesis (it just quit after some time, so I read his screen for him the rest of the time). We then installed espeakup, and it's mostly working. The only problem is that it doesn't read anything at boot, even the first login prompt. It does read what he types, as well as any further text, but he has no way to tell when it's finished booting. What could be the problem here, and how can I fix it?

Edit: To clarify, I am only talking about the VM guest. I am not asking anything about the host, which happens to be Debian, but that has no bearing on the question.

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  • @RuiFRibeiro The latter. – Duncan X Simpson Sep 7 '18 at 4:59
  • @RuiFRibeiro Speakup is in the kernel. – Duncan X Simpson Sep 7 '18 at 5:02
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    Even if it is on the kernel, it will only become active at certain point, when you have sound support, for instance (or probably more, mixer being activated in user land, if that happens) You might need assistance from something in the virtualization host if you want it from the moment 0. Have a look at emulating serial consoles, it might be a path. – Rui F Ribeiro Sep 7 '18 at 5:03
  • @RuiFRibeiro We have done it in the past with speakup with a hardware synth, reading kernel boot messages. It may be that audio is not possible that early in boot; that may be the problem. – Duncan X Simpson Sep 7 '18 at 5:07
  • As a thought. Could you add a notification sound as the last element in the boot process so that your student can tell the system has finished booting? (Years ago I used to do this on a headless Sun box.) – roaima Sep 7 '18 at 12:19

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