Archive: CDROM Oralux (2003 - 2006)

ISO available at this URL



Checking the downloaded iso file

Burning the Oralux CD from the downloaded iso file

Starting Oralux



Cheat codes

Boot floppy

Voice synthesis

Permanently saving your preferences and documents


Miscellaneous questions


Some answers to frequently asked questions:


Will the Oralux CD modify my hard disk?

Oralux can work without hard disk if your PC has sufficient RAM. It is expected to work without modifying your hard disk.

However, the CD can automatically use the swap partition already present in the hard disk.

And if the user created a persistent storage on her hard disk using the Oralux audio menu, then it will be automatically used by Oralux at next boot.

Which are the minimal hardware requirements?

The CD works using a Pentium 200 Mhz with 128 MB of RAM.

Less RAM is possible too; a swap partition could be needed though.

Checking the downloaded iso file [1]

How can I check that my iso file downloaded correctly?

Important note: Make sure that you download the ISO in binary mode (FTP). By default, Netscape downloads the file in ASCII mode, which corrupts the image.

If the download fails, you can use "Resume" which allows you to continue the download. This works with wget, ftp (reget), ncftp, CuteFTP, Getright, ...

Under MS-Windows:

Once the download is complete, you can check the integrity of the ISO file by using the md5 key. Please download md5sum.exe and the Oralux md5sum beforehand for this purpose.

Under GNU/Linux

The Oralux md5sum should be placed in the same directory as the iso file.

In a shell terminal, type:

md5sum -c Oralux_0.7-alpha.md5

Burning the Oralux CD from the downloaded iso file [1]

Burning the CD under MS-Windows

Any CD-Writing package can burn ISO images directly to a CD-Rom.

Easy CD Creator

Thanks to Zacheyer.


Click the "New" button and select a "track-image" project. So long as you are in track mode, and not file-system mode, dragging a track image file onto the CD window should make the programme accept it as a raw track. WinOnCD uses .RAW as its own extension.

Thanks to Rick Jones.

Nero Burning Rom

Thanks Antonio Asensi.

Burning the CD under GNU/Linux

First, determine your cd writer's SCSI target. Type:

cdrecord dev=ATAPI -scanbus

If the SCSI target is 0,0,0 and the speed 8x, type:

cdrecord -v -eject speed=8 -pad dev=ATAPI:0,0,0 oralux.iso

Starting Oralux

How do I start Oralux?

Your PC will boot up the CD automatically if the BIOS is set up to do so. The BIOS needs to be set so that the CD ROM will be checked for a bootable CD before booting from a fixed medium, e.g. the operating system on your hard disk.

Another option is to boot up from a floppy which will start the Oralux CD. Batch files for creating such a floppy are available on the Oralux CD in the /Knoppix directory.

Why the 30 second delay before Oralux starts?

When the PC boots up the CD, the following input command line is displayed for a few seconds:


Using this command line, you may enter a number of boot parameters, including the type of your braille terminal. The expected keywords are known as "cheat codes".

If no key is pressed within 30 seconds, Oralux automatically starts. To start Oralux immediately, simply press "enter" at the "boot:" prompt.

What will I hear at the very beginning?

If everything works correctly, you will hear the Oralux mascot, Cocoralux, singing. This is followed by a beep.

If there is no sound, there are several possible causes such as:

Which are the possible desktops?

Oralux 0.7 alpha offers three desktops: Emacspeak, an environment based on YASR, and Speakup.

You may want to select the desktop using the audio menu.


How do I increase the sound volume?

Once the cock stops singing, Oralux beeps. You can then change the sound volume:

But there is no sound!

Reboot your PC using the oss cheat code.

When no code is supplied, the alsa drivers are used.

By supplying the oss keyword, the OSS drivers will be loaded, hoping that they will be able to drive your sound device.

Type the following command line at boot time:

knoppix oss

How do I change the sound volume under Emacspeak?

There are a number of methods to change the volume. Here is one:

ESCAPE ! aumix -v 50

This means: press the ESCAPE key, then the ! key, then type "aumix -v 50".

50 is a middle range value. You may choose any value from 0 (silence) to 100.

ESCAPE ! opens an input line, where a command line is expected. This command line could be compared to MSDOS, but this is a shell (more powerful).

Here the command line is simply:

aumix -v 50

This command calls the aumix mixer and sets the volume to 50.


Is Oralux able to drive a braille terminal?

Yes, thanks to BRLTTY.

Your braille display can be selected using the audio menu.

Or at boot time, use the "cheat code" brltty.

For example:


Cheat codes

What is a "cheat code"?

This is a keyword (parameter) which is supplied at boot time to help select or set up drivers required by your particular system.

With experience, you will discover which cheat codes are required for your PC.

These keywords are typed or automatically supplied using a boot floppy configured with the necessary custom settings.

At boot time, for 30 seconds, this prompt is displayed: "boot:". You may want to type e.g.

knoppix speakup_synth=ltlk

"cheat code" list

The list is on the CD under /KNOPPIX/oralux-cheatcodes.txt.

Boot floppy

When is it a good idea to boot from a boot floppy?

Usually, the PC boots up the Oralux CD automatically.

In some cases, a few PC's can't boot up from the CD ROM or setting up the BIOS correctly is a difficult operation for the user.

A boot floppy can also be convenient, since it can be set up to supply Oralux with the required cheat codes automatically, saving the user the effort of having to type them at each boot.

How do I create a boot floppy?

With MS-Windows

sbm.bat is a batch MS DOS file which can create the boot floppy (using Smart Boot Manager).

This file is in the CD in the tools/cd-boot directory.

With Oralux

Insert a floppy disk and type:

dd if=/cdrom/tools/cd-boot/sbm.img of=/dev/fd0 bs=18k

Voice synthesis

Which voice synthesizers are included on the CD?

The CD can speak in six languages thanks to the following voice synthesizers

Brazilian Portuguese
Brazilian Portuguese with ttpport by Cassio Santos and al (Alistair D. Conkie, Eduardo Reis, Luis Alves) and the br1 MBROLA database by Denis R. Costa
Flite is a free English Text-To-Speech (TTS) software synthesizer (Carnegie Mellon University).
Freephone by Steve Isard and Alistair Conkie.
Enlex the English phonetizer maintained by Igor B. Poretsky.
Cicero TTS, by Nicolas Pitre and Stephane Doyon.
Lliaphon by the Biglux team
MBROLA databases such as the fr4 MBROLA database by Vincent Pagel.
txt2pho by Thomas Portele
The de6 MBROLA database by Dr Marc Schroeder
Ru_tts, author Igor B. Poretsky is a Russian TTS.
Thanks to a software by the IrcHa team.
The es1 MBROLA database (originally created by Alistair D. Conkie and al).

Several voice synthesizers are based on MBROLA (Thierry Dutoit, Universite de Mons).

Multispeech by Igor B. Poretsky is an Emacspeak speech server available in six languages.

Speech Dispatcher by Freebsoft is a common interface to speech synthesis.

Speechd-up by Freebsoft gives the possibility to use the Speakup screen reader


What is the DECtalk software?

If you bought the DECtalk software, Oralux might be able to install it from your hard disk.

DECtalk is available in several languages and especially in French.

Obviously, we have no financial interest in promoting the DECtalk software.

How do I install the DECtalk software?

In order for Oralux to find your DECtalk package, you will have to create a directory on one of your partitions. An NTFS partition should be avoided, since Oralux currently cannot write to an NTFS partition. If you place the package on a NTFS partition, the DECtalk serial number will be requested at each boot.

The expected directory name is dtk (all lower cases).

This directory must be at the highest level of the tree in the partition.

E.g. if /dev/hda1 is mounted on /var, Oralux will succeed to find /var/dtk but will fail with /var/foo/dtk .

Place your DECtalk package in your dtk directory: its expected name is something like linux...tar.gz

If you have a second DECtalk package, please place it there too. Oralux can install the French, Castillan Spanish or German optional package too.

Can Oralux drive an external synthesizer?

Oralux includes several drivers for the external synthesizers which can be used under Emacspeak or Speakup.

If your sound card works under Oralux, you can set your preferences using the audio menu.

For example, you will select your external synthesizer in a list.

My sound card does not work, how to use an external synthesizer with Emacspeak ?

The tts cheatcode

For example, the following line entered at boot time, starts Emacspeak with DoubleTalk LT:

knoppix tts=doubletalk

By default, the synthesizer is supposed to be plugged into the first serial port (ttyS0).

To select the second serial port, you may want to enter :

knoppix tts=doubletalk,ttyS1
Available drivers

Here is the list of the included drivers for Emacspeak.

First, there is the cheatcode keyword for the tts cheatcode, then the synthesizer name.

How to start my external synthesizer for Speakup ?

The speakup_synth cheatcode

At the boot prompt, for selecting the doubletalk lite driver, please type:

knoppix speakup_synth=ltlk
Available drivers

cheatcode for external synthesizers (from spkguide.txt)

Note: Speakup does * NOT * support usb connections! Speakup also does * NOT * support the internal Tripletalk!

How do I set the speech rate under Emacspeak?

To change the rate of the speech:

C-e d 1

1 = very slow rate,

C-e d 9

9 = very fast rate.

Experiment with numbers between 1 and 9 to find the speech rate that suits you best.

Note: C-e means: press and hold the CONTROL key and press the e key. Release both keys. Press the d key, then press 9.

All Emacspeak commands start with C-e. d is related to the speech server (the first one was the DECtalk).

Permanently saving your preferences and documents

How do I save my preferences?

You will probably wish to save the volume, the type of keyboard, and any other preferences set using the introductory menu, as well as other files for example, the Internet parameters....

Idem for the other files as for example the Internet parameters.

Saveconfig is able to save these files to the hard disk, a floppy disk or a USB key,...

During all subsequent boots, these parameters will be automatically searched for and loaded.

Here is the sequence under Emacspeak

saveconfig can be automatically launched from the audio menu (the "persistent storage" item).

How do I save my documents?

The directory where you can easily store your documents is /home/knoppix.

By default, this directory is in ramdisk. Note: As soon as your computer is turned off, the directory will be lost!

In fact, if you want to, the /home/knoppix directory can be stored in an 'image' on your hard disk or a USB key.

At the next boot, this image will be automatically searched.

This image can be created automatically from the audio menu (the "persistent storage" item)


How do I shutdown my PC?

First, quit Emacspeak using C-x C-c

or quit the YASR or Speakup menu using the Escape key.

Then, the audio menu will offer to shutdown the PC

And about reboot?

First, quit Emacspeak using C-x C-c or quit the YASR or Speakup menu.

Then, using the audio menu, reboot the PC.

Or press the three magical keys Control Alt Del

Miscellaneous questions

How do I install Oralux on a hard disk?

The real installation on hard disk is a future feature.

Nevertheless, knoppix-installer is available, at your own risk, for installing the CD on hardisk. Check the mailing list please for up-to-date informations.

Another option is to copy the Oralux compressed file from the CD to the hard disk on any vfat or ext2 partition (but not a ntfs one). Less than 700 MBytes will be used. Oralux running from a hard disk will behave just as it did on CD: it won't be possible to add or update new programs. This may also be an advantage.

The two distinct stages to this operation are:

  1. Create a KNOPPIX directory. This directory should be at the highest level of the partition's tree: e.g. with MS-Windows, C:\KNOPPIX is correct, C:\MyFolder\KNOPPIX is not correct.
  2. Copy the file KNOPPIX/KNOPPIX from the Oralux CD to the new directory.

The Oralux CD or a boot floppy will be required to boot Oralux from the hard disk.

Is there a mailing list for this project?

Yes! Here are our recent archives, and the older ones.

This is mostly a bilingual list (English-French).

To subscribe, visit the list info page.

Why a cock as logo?

That's right, the Oralux logo is a cock singing in front of the sun.

The cock's song recalls the word Oral and as the cock sings at rising dawn, it recalls Lux which means Light.

And it's not an anonymous rooster: this is Cocoralux!



Just a few words, if you are not yet familiar with the Emacs syntax C-x or M-x.

C-x means: hold down the Control key and press x, then release them both.

M is the so called META key which is the left ALT key on most keyboards.

M is also the Escape key. However, the Escape key is not held down while the following key is pressed.


The Emacs and Emacspeak documentation are mostly in the Info format. This format structures the documentation, and allows the reader to go from node to node. To quickly learn the few Info commands, just press C-h i


Here is how to access the Emacspeak documentation

C-h i m Emacspeak
The Emacspeak Info pages.
C-e F
Emacspeak FAQ.
C-h C-e
Displays a list of standard Emacspeak commands.
C-e C-h
Emacspeak learning mode: enters a mode in which the function of every key that you type is spoken; this mode can be terminated with the `C-g' `keyboard-quit' command.
The Emacspeak mailing list
And particularly its archives.


C-h i m emacs
The Emacs editor
C-h i m emacs FAQ
Emacs FAQ
C-h t
The online tutorial.
C-h a
A propos: display the Emacs commands which match with the supplied text.
C-h k
Display documentation of the function invoked by the supplied keys sequence.


The speakup website is


Visit please our online document index for up-to-date info.

Note 1

The sections "Checking the downloaded iso file" and "Burning the Oralux CD from the downloaded file" come from the Morphix website which gathered them from the Mandriva Readme (which gathered them from...) and have been slightly edited.