Emacspeak is a Linux application that allows users to get synthesized speech output inside the Emacs desktop environment. Because Emacspeak is actually integrated into the Emacs environment (instead of just running "on top" of an environment like most screen readers), Emacspeak provides much more context-specific information than its commercial screen reader counterparts. In this sense, Emacspeak is not a "screen reader," but rather a subsystem of Emacs that produces speech output.
Although Emacspeak only works inside Emacs, there are a large number of both built-in and add-on applications for Emacs that do everything from keeping track of your appointments to playing CDs to coding HTML. In addition, Emacs has a special command shell mode that can be used to run any command-line application.
This HOWTO focuses on installing Emacspeak on your Linux system. It does not discuss how to actually use Emacs or Emacspeak - for information on usage, refer to the Emacspeak User's Guide, available at http://www.tldp.org/guides.html#espk.