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  1. What is gnuspeech
  2. What is the goal of the gnuspeech project?
  3. Releases?
  4. Why is it called gnuspeech?
  5. Getting help with gnuspeech
  6. Finding additional packages for gnuspeech
  7. Further information
  8. If you want to help with gnuspeech
  9. Those who have helped research, develop and port gnuspeech

What is gnuspeech?

gnuspeech makes it easy to produce high quality computer speech output, design new language databases, and create controlled speech stimuli for psychophysical experiments.

The suite of programs uses a true articulatory model of the vocal tract and incorporates models of English rhythm and intonation based on extensive research that sets a new standard for synthetic speech.

The original NeXT computer implementation is complete. The ports to both OS X and GNU/Linux provide English text-to-speech capability, but parts of the database creation tools are still in the process of being ported.

Credits for research and implementation of the gnuspeech system appear the section Thanks to those who have helped below. Some of the features of gnuspeech, with the tools that are part of the software suite, tools include:

Overview of the main Articulatory Speech Synthesis System

More detailed information on the components noted above appears in what follows, with an indication of their current state in the OS X and GNU/Linux GNUStep ports, their origin, and some suggestions for further work.

Why is it called gnuspeech?

It is a play on words. This is a new (g-nu) “event-based” approach to speech synthesis from text, that uses an accurate articulatory model rather than a formant-based approximation. It is also a GNU project, aimed at providing high quality text-to-speech output for GNU/Linux (and Mac OS X). In addition, it provides comprehensive tools for psychophysical and linguistic experiments as well as for creating the databases for arbitrary languages.

What is the goal of the gnuspeech project?

The goal of the project is to create the best speech synthesis software on the planet.


Although no official release has been made yet (but will occur “real soon now”), unofficial packages for GNUStep, Mac OS X and NeXT (NeXTSTEP 3.0), are available for anonymous download from the SVN repository. All provide text-to-speech capability. For GNUStep and OS X the database creation and inspection tools (such as Synthesizer) can be used as intended, but work remains to be done to complete the database creation components of Monet that are needed for psychophysical/linguistic experiments, and for setting up new languages. The SVN Repository material may soon be migrated to a Git Repository instead. Stay tuned.

Development & “Coming Soon”

It would be very helpful if those obtaining and using the pre-release material would also join the mailing list (as explained below), and provide some feedback, ask questions, and so on.

Those willing to help with the project are invited to contact the authors/developers through the gnu project facilities. Both helpers and users can join the project mailing list by visiting the subscription page, and send mail to the group. Offers of help receive special attention!

A brief technical history of gnuspeech, incorporating the current state

The project implementation history, explaining the components, is presented on a new page to reduce clutter.

In summary, much of the core software has been ported to the Mac under OS/X, and GNU/Linux under GNUStep. All sources and builds are currently in the SVN repository under those three branches. Speech may be produced from input text. The development facilities for managing and creating new language databases, or modifying the existing English database for text-to-speech are incomplete, but coming along. These facilities also provide the tools needed for psychophysical and linguistic experiments. Synthesizer, which gives direct access to the tube model, is about 70% complete and already usefully functional—some of the data displays are stubs at present and clean-up is needed. Some accessory tools are available.

Obtaining gnuspeech

gnuspeech is currently fully available as a NextSTEP 3.x version, and partly available (with working text-to-speech) as a version that compiles for both Mac OS/X, and GNU/Linux under GNUStep. Additionally, OS X .dmg files and NeXT packages that can be directly installed and run are available. These files are held in the Subversion Repository (not the CVS Repository) on the savannah web page for the project— under “-Browse Sources Repository” in the “Development Tools” section. The material is organised according to the three branches previously mentioned (gnustep/, nextstep/ and osx/).

The original NeXT User and Developer Kits are complete, but do not run under OS X or under GNUStep on GNU/Linux. They also suffer from the limitations of a slow machine, so that shorter TRM lengths cannot be used. Any password can be selected to activate the NeXT kits from the file “nextstep / trunk / priv / SerialNumbers” and choosing a password such as “bb976d4a” for User 26 or “ebe22748” for Dev 15 from the very large selection provided. In fact, you can use these passwords. But you need a NeXT computer, of course (try Black Hole, Inc. if you'd like one).

Getting Help with gnuspeech

Developers should contact the authors/developers through the gnu project facilities. To join the project mailing list, you can go directly to the subscription page. Papers and manuals are available on-line (see below).

Manuals and papers

A number of papers and manuals relevant to gnuspeech exist:

Some examples of the papers by other researchers that helped us in developing gnuspeech include:

but there are far too many to list them all. Further papers may be found in the citations incorporated in the relevant papers noted above and/or listed on David Hill's university web site.

Further information?

See the section on Manuals and papers

How to help with gnuspeech

To contact the maintainers of gnuspeech, to report a bug, or to contribute fixes or improvements, to join the development team, or to join the gnuspeech mailing list, please visit the gnuspeech project page and use the facilities provided. The mailing list can be accessed under the section “Communication Tools”. To help with the project work you can also contact Professor David Hill directly.

Thanks to those who have helped

The research that provides the foundation of the system was carried out in research departments in France, Sweden, Poland, and Canada and is ongoing. The original system was commercialised by a now-liquidated University of Calgary spin-off company—Trillium Sound Research Inc. All the software has subsequently been donated by its creators to the Free Software Foundation forming the basis of the GNU Project gnuspeech. It is freely available under a General Public Licence, as described herein.

Many people have contributed to the work, either directly on the project, or indirectly through relevant research. The latter appear in the citations to the papers referenced above. Of particular note are Perry Cook & Julius Smith (Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics) for the waveguide model and the DSP Music Kit), René Carré (at the Département Signal, École Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications in Paris). Carré’s work was, in turn, based on work on formant sensitivity analysis by Gunnar Fant and his colleagues at the Speech Rechnology Lab of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. The original gnuspeech system was created over several years from 1990 to 1995 by the University of Calgary technology-transfer spin-off company Trillium Sound Research Inc. founded by David Hill, Leonard Manzara and Craig Schock at Leonard's suggestion. The work then and since was mainly performed by the following:

Thanks guys!

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Page originally created in the mists of time (2004?)

Last modified: Sun Jun 3 19:03:39 PDT 2012