Advice for blind Linux newbie

Vasile Radu vradu at
Thu Jul 6 17:56:39 UTC 2006

that means that his friend must buy another computer:)
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "hank smith" <hanksmith4 at>
To: "Linux for blind general discussion" <blinux-list at>
Sent: Thursday, July 06, 2006 8:38 PM
Subject: Re: Advice for blind Linux newbie

> another rout is the mac
> it all ready has a screen reader built in to it
> just a thaught
> 73
> hank smith
> amiture radio call sign:
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> hanksmith4 at
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> hanksmith5
> ----- 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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