Most suitable linux distro for a blind linux newbie?

Janina Sajka janina at
Mon Aug 8 13:59:04 UTC 2005

Debian is an excellent choice, but there are also many blind users of
other distros like Fedora, Slack, Gentoo, etc., etc.

If you're contemplating a synthetic speech based interface, your most
readily achievable results will be with a Speakup enabled kernel driving
a hardware speech synth. Software speech is available for Speakup as it
is for Emacspeak. However, you seem to have already discovered for
yourself that their are caviats to getting software speech working.

The stable, robust environment is the Linux console (including via
screen). The gui is not advisable at this time or the near term future.

The stable robust interfaces are either speech or braille based--or both

Some more links for you:

PS: If your friend is interested in an accessible installation, please
read my HOWTO (regardlessof the distro you ultimately choose):

Larissa Naber writes:
> Hi!
> My friend Yasemin, who is blind, wants to give Linux a spin. Now I'm 
> looking for a suiteable distro. Although I have plenty of Linux 
> experience my knowledge concerning making linux work for ablind person 
> is somewhat limited. As of now, I spectaculariy failed to make my 
> emacspeak speak. Most of my own maschines are running either gentoo or 
> slackware and I used Suse in the past.
> I believe that a distro with a bsd like port system such as debian or 
> gentoo is easiest to handle for a newbie. As gentoo tends to be a bit 
> volatile, I probably would rather pick a debian stable release. Anybody 
> out there using debian?
> We allready tried a Suse (which refused to recognize the braille 
> terminal, a baum vario 40) and a oralux (which just would not talk on 
> her machine - I guess I'll have to put in a different sound card, 
> probably some windows only onboard chip)
> It is not necessary that she'll be able to install the maschine all by 
> herlf (at least not yet).
> Please let me know what you are using, and why you are using it.
> Greetings
> Larissa
> _______________________________________________
> Blinux-list mailing list
> Blinux-list at


Janina Sajka				Phone: +1.202.494.7040
Partner, Capital Accessibility LLC	http://www.CapitalAccessibility.Com
Bringing the Owasys 22C screenless cell phone to the U.S. and Canada. Go to http://www.ScreenlessPhone.Com to learn more.

Chair, Accessibility Workgroup		Free Standards Group (FSG)
janina at

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