Advice for blind Linux newbie

hank smith hanksmith4 at
Thu Jul 6 17:38:08 UTC 2006

another rout is the mac
it all ready has a screen reader built in to it
just a thaught
hank smith
amiture radio call sign:
hanksmith4 at
msn messenger:
hanksmith5 at
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Andrews" <dandrews at>
To: "Linux for blind general discussion" <blinux-list at>
Sent: Thursday, July 06, 2006 9:52 AM
Subject: Re: Advice for blind Linux newbie

> Hello>:
> I have a couple observations -- some of which won't be popular on a Linux 
> list.  First, it is a bit tricky to install ZoomText and JAWS on the same 
> computer.  Secondly, it is an even worse idea to run both at the same 
> time.
> I suspect you are right that only using each half way is causing your 
> friend problems.  Whether visually impaired or totally blind, a person 
> will ultimately benefit from learning how to do things in Windows, or 
> another OS, with keystrokes.  It can help to have an idea of what the 
> screen looks like, but not absolutely necessary.  I think a good teacher 
> could use analogies to convey various ideas to a student.
> I am not convinced a switch to Linux will solve your friend's problems. 
> Somebody will probably jump all over me here, I assure you I am not a 
> Linux basher.  I have a Sun Cobalt server in my basement after all.
> However you point to one of the problems with Linux yourself, when you say 
> "What distro should I use."  At some point, most Unix and Linux 
> discussions ultimately degrade into a "my distribution is better than 
> yours."  It is counter productive and dissipates much of the advantages 
> that the OS may have.
> Linux is not for the faint of heart, or newbie.  If you set everything up 
> for your friend, and maintain it, it might work for him/her, but it may 
> not.  There can be long commands to memorize, etc.
> Further, relatively speaking there are many more blind and visually 
> impaired Windows users than Linux users, so there is a community of users, 
> lists, tutorials, trainers, consultants etc. out there.  This pool of 
> resources is not as large in Linux, and ultimately they start arguing 
> about the relative merits of their particular installations.
> Write me off list, and we can discuss other training alternatives, etc. 
> It is possible that another approach might work.  I would guess you are a 
> sighted person, and may have a mouse orientation.  I am not trying to be 
> critical, just realistic.
> Dave
> At 04:59 AM 7/6/2006, you wrote:
>>Hi, I have just subscribed.  Hello to everyone.  I was hoping for some 
>>advice.  My friend is visually impaired and has been struggling with 
>>windows for the last year.  The GUI is what is causing him the most 
>>problems.  As he has never been able to see well enough to grasp concepts 
>>such as tabs, menus and the desktop, he often gets lost and doesn't know 
>>where he is.  His learning has come to a halt and he is getting 
>>frustrated, so I have come here.  I have wanted to try Linux myself and 
>>thought I could learn a little along the way by setting it up for him.
>>On windows he uses Zoomtext (screen magnifier) and Jaws (screen reader). 
>>I think this causes him more problems as he won't rely on either 
>>So I am looking for a simple setup that allows him to play music, read 
>>emails and browse the web.  Can anyone recommend which Linux distros I 
>>could use and what I should install for accessibility with your reasons 
>>This would be a great help.
>>Thank you
>>Windows LiveT Messenger has arrived. Click here to download it for free! 
>>Blinux-list mailing list
>>Blinux-list at
> David Andrews and white cane Harry.
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