April 10, 2001

ViaVoice/KDE collaboration: The sound of silence

Author: JT Smith

- by Tina Gasperson -
(updated 4/11/01
)

At LinuxWorld expo in February, IBM, KDE, and Trolltech were proudly displaying the potential of ViaVoice on the KDE desktop. A press release that went out just before the expo quoted IBM's director of new business development, Patricia McHugh: "This combination of technologies will greatly accelerate the creation and adoption of speech-enabled
applications for the Linux desktop." (see updated story.)Indeed, Matthias Ettrich, the founder of KDE and a software engineer at Trolltech chimed in, saying "When ViaVoice is
integrated with Qt, it will be possible to control Qt-based Linux desktop applications with speech input that is as
simple as -- if not more simple than -- keyboard input. Developers can build speech-capability into the
structure of their application from the beginning."

ViaVoice is human language recognition software developed by IBM, who has made development tools available for different platforms including Linux. Trolltech's flagship product is Qt, a GUI toolkit that the KDE Open Source desktop is built around. The demonstration during LWE earlier this year showed how ViaVoice could be used to control desktop applications like KWord, a KDE word-processing program, or KSpread, KDE's spreadsheet application.

Now that it is April, NewsForge decided to get an update on the progress of the project. KDE developers, both of free software and commercial applications, are looking forward to the release of the project. But no one on the IBM-Trolltech-KDE team knows anything -- or if they do, they're not saying. Trolltech representative Aron Kozak said Monday that they are waiting on IBM to make up its mind about licensing issues with the Trolltech Qt port of ViaVoice.

And IBM isn't forthcoming with a response to that. Publicist Pamela Bennett said that IBM has no updates on the project and has no comments about whether they are actually debating which license to release this as yet unnamed project with.

The original January 31 press release that resides on the Trolltech Web site is not an IBM-sanctioned announcement, said Bennett, and does not include the standard "About IBM" statement.

NewsForge editors read and respond to comments posted on our discussion page.

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