Fw: Not sure if you want to take the plunge with Linux and open source?

Matthys Terblanche matthys at absamail.co.za
Thu Oct 19 16:12:35 UTC 2006

I want to thank the linux communaty, especially Dave mielke and Willem van 
der Walt, for getting the nubies like me on the road. Below is a message I 
wrote to an local group, which some of you might find interesting.

Linux, whatever flavour you go for,  is not really for the faint of heart,
especially the initial stages, but if you have a helping hand/mind, THANK
YOU WILLEM, and the endurance to do hours of research, it gets better and
Many an argument exists for and against the open source approach, and I'm
sure there are a lot of success stories and a lot of failure reports, but
I'll share an amazing success story with you.
A while back I decided to take the plunge and get my first linux box up and
running. I downloaded the more than 2 gigs of Fedora's modified for Speech
with the Speakup screen reader installation, and whith a Braille Lite which
have seen better days, used as a Braille and Speak, I instaled my system.
It took a lot of swaring and cussing, much more research, lots of how-to
manuals, etc, but at long last the system was opperative.
I discovered that the BRLTTY screen reader that comes with most linux
flavours, as well as in a lot of unix distributions, stated that the Mini
Braille is one of the supported devices.
Now, years back, I baught a mini braille, but it's no longer supported in
modern day Windows Screen readers.  Many a time I thought to throw or give
it away, but sentimental pressure kept me from doing something like that.
So out of the drawer it came, and I tried to set it up.  Sad story! it
didn't work.  I tried running it from a dos stiffy, but still no luck.  Then
I remembered that there was some issues with modems and alike that arose
from too fast computers.  That's when software like slowdown, Varislow and
atslow, came into existance.
Sow on the net I got my slow down utility, and low and behold, the
minibraille worked in dos.
I sent a sceptical message to the support team of BRLTTY for help.  Why in
heavens name would they try to correct an error on an old display of which
there is probably just the one user?
Whell, I got an response.  No actually, not only one. After I explained the
reason for the communication failure with the mini braille to Dave Mielke,
he started sending me code updates.  I compiled brltty with the changes, and
gave feedback. Very soon, the braille display started to work.  But wait,
that was not good enough for Dave, he wanted to expand the usability of the
display.  After about 100 messages to and throw, the minibraille, which 
doesn't  sport cursor routing keys like the modern displays, can be used
to select, copy, paste, show attributes, and much more.  And this took two
weeks of dedication from a guy who doesn't get any reward for his work, only
gratitued and the satasfaction of a job well done.  This, more than anything
else, is where the power lays in the open source communaty.
So, if you have time to experiment, and you feel like doing something new,
take the plunge.

More information about the Blinux-list mailing list