Linux without sighted help

Lee Maschmeyer lee_maschmeyer at
Tue Jan 29 17:24:11 UTC 2008

There is a Linux emulator you can run under Windows. I guess there are 
several but the one  I'm familiar with is cygwin ( If you 
have a couple GB of free disk space you can install everything; it provides 
a pretty good system - slower than real Linux but usable. If you have a 
braille display you can run brltty which gives a nearly indistinguishable 
look and feel; if you use speech you'll have to use your Windows screen 
reader. Since I'm not a speech user I don't know a lot about that.

I use it all the time for light tasks like checking man and info pages, 
running ssh, using Lynx, reading books, and stuff like that. It works a bit 
better if you run Screen on Cygwin.

The installer is tricky. It strikes many people as inaccessible. My 
experience is that it isn't inaccessible at all, just clumsy as the dickens; 
if you install the default system and then add everything else (note: a 
two-stage approach) the installer isn't hard once you figure out what's 
going on.

Go to, read a bit, install the default system, then read the 
user's guide and install everything else.

Lee Maschmeyer
<lee_maschmeyer at>

"Be kind to your fur-bearing friends,
For a skunk may be somebody's brother."
     --Fred Allen

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