Talk on Debian accessibility by Samuel Thibault

Tony Baechler tony at
Sat Mar 29 09:07:04 UTC 2008

Hello all,

As many of you here and on the Speakup list have seen, Samuel has often 
contributed to both lists regarding Braille support and Debian 
accessibility in general.  During a free software conference, he gave a 
short talk on this subject.  It is called, "How Accessible is Debian," 
and seems targetted to developers and interested Debian users.  I 
haven't listened to the talk but it seems to focus on Braille.  Since he 
reads this list, I'm sure he will correct me if I'm wrong on this.

While the video files have been available since 29 February 2008 
according to the directory listing, they are very big and not easy to 
play.  I got CRC errors with the mpeg file in MPlayer and Winamp on 
Windows would not play the MPEG file at all.  Extracting the audio 
stream helped but still wouldn't play in Windows and had very low 
volume.  I have now converted it to a relatively small mp3 file with 
normalized audio and it seems much better to me.  If anyone wants it, 
please write off list.  It is not huge but it is too big to attach to 
email.  If there is a lot of demand, I will put it up on a public web 

There is no reason at all why people can't download the video files and 
convert like I did, but I am guessing that most people here won't need 
the video stream and will want normalized audio.  The mp3 file is about 
1/3 the size of just the ac3 audio stream.  Apparently MPlayer has no 
way of normalizing after looking at the help and "grep"ing the html 
docs.  Mencoder doesn't normalize either.  The first 2:30 is silence, so 
the actual audio of the talk runs almost exactly 30 minutes starting at 
2:31 into the file.  If there are other accessibility talks that folks 
want converted to plain audio streams, let me know and I'll see what I 
can do.  I am surprised at how apparently difficult that turned out to 
be on Linux, even with many audio transcoding tools installed.

I find this talk interesting because it helps me associate a voice with 
the name.  I have read Samuel's replies before but had not heard him 
give a presentation before.  I came upon this talk by accident because I 
happened to look at the 2008 meetings archive.  For those who want the 
original source, look at the following link.  I hope the mp3 file will 
be helpful to someone.

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