Getting started with Linux

Jude DaShiell jdashiel at
Sat Nov 8 21:10:11 UTC 2008

hmmm, the statement about Ubuntu being at least as accessible as windows 
is very probably correct.  rythmbox is 3rd party software and windows is 
way worse on 3rd party software than Linux could ever hope to get on its 
worst day!  This is thanks to the windows screen reader manufacturers 
concentrating too hard on making too much of the wrong stuff accessible 
and too little on making the right stuff accessible.  Why is it jaws users 
can't use mirc yet?  Why is it only by version 9.x jaws users are getting 
improvements for visual studio?  Why is it Window-eyes still doesn't 
support accessing java?  In fact what accessible irc application is even 
available for jaws users?  Other than the irc application questions 
everything else I asked about has a direct impact on people's abilities to 
do their jobs whether they develop software or not.  java and javascript 
get used by websites users must visit for mandatory training.  When that 
doesn't work and that's frequently, other accommodations have to be 
arranged or the employee either looses access to computer systems and/or 
looses their job.  Rythmbox has competitors, some of them I'm sure written 
with gtk.  Some of them are even bash scripts like podracer or hpodder or 
bashpodder. What I hate most about Windows is most likely even if you pay 
money for a package that's no guarrantee it will ever be accessible. Next 
on the list has to be as a result of windows implementation criminals who 
might have been stopped by the DOS learning curve or at least slowed down 
are making billions stealing identities and hacking systems all because 
Bill Gates wanted to enlarge his fortune; thanks Bill! Third thing on the 
list has to be inaccessibility of windows to the extent it exists and the 
web.  Entry costs are lots lower for Linux hardware screen readers aren't 
always necessary so no tribute to blindness industry.  The web got messed 
up because too many artists got on line in 1995 and later and came up with 
all of this inaccessible stuff.  If they had to learn DOS, that might have 
been slowed.  I was around in the days when if you went on line to view 
stuff it was telnet or gopher. On Wed, 22 Oct 2008, krishnakant Mane 

> On 22/10/2008, Tony Baechler <tony at> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I must respectfully disagree with the above statement.  I understand
>> that things should be better now when Ubuntu adopts the changes from the
>> latest Debian installer, but I have a serious problem with the claim
>> that Ubuntu is as accessible as Windows.
> hi, with due respect for your submission to the all mighty microsoft
> and wish to surrender your freedom, I disagree on the following basis.
>> First of all, unless I'm
>> mistaken, there are still many apps that don't work well with Orca.  I
>> admit that I'm still learning, but I didn't find rhythmbox particularly
>> accessible for example.
> Well, there are a lots of apps which are not accessible on windows
> given any screen reader.
> Tally is one such example and even google talk to a great extent.
> Open office is also not accessible and microsoft office is nothing
> less than proprietory rubbish.
> But let it be, I agree with your point that rithm box is not
> accessible and so was pgadmin3.
> There are few such softwares which lak accessibility.  But there is a
> big difference.
> I have complete hope and I am confident that these apps will be
> accessible soon.  You see the point here is that i nighther can change
> source code of tally or other non accessible softwares on windows nor
> change the screen readers to the core.
> But I value my freedom like many others and I am free to make changes
> to either rithm box or other softwares which are inaccessible.
> I am in the process of making some changes to pgadmin3 and I am
> working with the accessibility team at evince to make pdf reading easy
> with gnu/linux.
> So although I might not directly contribute to the changes, I will at
> least guide them.
> there are so many tailor made proprietory softwares which just don't
> work with windows and screen readers.  As a result many blind people
> loos job opportunities.  Nither screen reader developing firms nor
> windows would make a change for that.  But with free and open source
> changes happen and in some cases very vary rappidly.
> So in short, in proprietory softwares development is stagnated but
> orca and ubuntu has reached in 2 years where jaws or similar products
> took more than 5 or 6 years.
> The only question one should ask is "are we ready to make the changes
> or facilitate an initiate the changes or just abuse free software for
> what is lakking ".  Not to mention viruses and other deliberate things
> done by microsoft and other companies on purpose.
>> Also, while it's true that you can run Orca from the live CD, it is
>> very, very slow.  It took at least 15 minutes to boot and several
>> minutes just to open an application.  Yes, it could be done but frankly
>> it was very painful.
> Again depends on you.  I have a 512 mb desktop which runs orca live
> pritty fast and ubuntu is also pritty smooth (hardy 8.04.1) and if
> windows is so great and freedom scientific is the god for blind people
> why can't blind people still not install windows themselves?
>> I'm running Windows 98 on 256 MB of RAM.  I'm the
>> first to admit that memory could be the issue, but Windows 98 runs fine
> yes it runs fine with all the viruses and what not?  I won't like my
> valued knowledge go in the wrong hands and I will pay for some more
> memory and get some thing safe and that respects my freedom.
>> and fairly fast.  OK, one could argue that of course the live CD would
>> be slower and Ubuntu compares to XP in terms of resources, but I would
>> disagree with that too, at least on a general level.  Linux from the
>> console runs very well in that same box and from a live CD (grml 1.1rc1)
>> with no problem and minimal slowness.
> which it does.  I have instrumented mass migrations from the
> proprietory rubbish to heaven of freedom here in india.  And most of
> the migrations have happened to ubuntu and at corporate professional
> level even debian.
> This includes many blind schools in southern state in india named
> tamilnadu and another state named kerala.  They are more than happy
> and now even have the desire to contribute to the parts it laks rather
> than abusing the problems and disrespecting the marvel free software
> has.
>> Linux by design should require
>> less resources than Windows, but the argument would seem to be that this
>> is no longer correct, at least from what I've read on the lists.
> and what is the cost of 512 mb ram or even 1 gb ram.  By the way
> softwares occupy much lesser place on hard disk compared to
> proprietory softwares on windows.  Blender, inkscape, GIMP and brasero
> are such examples.  Compare them to their proprietory useless
> softwares and you will know the difference.
> And I don't really know whether you are a programmer or an end user,
> but I would request you to actively participate in development and
> provide constructive ideas to fix the small missing parts.
> What ever the case may be, you seam to have good analysis skills so
> you can be of good use.
>> One thing I forgot to mention.  You say that Firefox 3 is accessible.
>> Yes, it can certainly be used by the blind, but I wouldn't say that it
>> is completely accessible by any means.  Often pressing Tab gives me
>> silence and it's hard to know when I'm on a form.  That's with Firefox
>> 3.  Windows is still far better in this regard, but it's getting closer.
> ues the latest versions of orca.  and forms mode is very bad idea.
> we have links list and headings list (which by the way was added in a
> matter of few hours as an extention ).  and forms are totally
> acccessible infact jaws and many windows based screen readers are
> having problems with some web sites too.  The problem is not the
> screen reader but in many cases bad web design and layout which does
> not respect accessibility.  At least orca presents many web sites
> accessible and I like the "as is " way of presenting the information.
> And although links list was a common feature in many proprietory
> screen readers, to my knowledge i have not seen a filter links option
> in any of them.
> Again this is a contribution from a community member which really
> can't happen in a proprietory way of development.
>> The biggest issue I have with the statements at how great Ubuntu
>> accessibility is has to do with the complete lack of Speakup support in
>> the kernel.  As I said, hopefully this will change, but I've read
>> several times on the Speakup list that it's impossible to build Speakup
>> into the current Ubuntu kernel.  That completely leaves the blind out of
>> decent console access.  Again, there's Gnome terminal but Orca
>> apparently has no support for hardware speech and lacks the features of
>> Speakup, which is designed for the console.  That means that at a
>> minimum, one would need two different kernels, one for Orca and one
>> especially for Speakup which defeats the point of Speakup in the first
>> place.  I seriously have an issue with saying that there is great
>> accessibility when mail readers, chat programs, ftp clients, and web
>> browsers are all made unavailable because of no console access.  One is
>> forced into using the GUI alternatives.  I don't know about you, but
>> that sure doesn't sound like freedom to me, at least in the meaning used
>> by free software.
> I think emacspeak is the right choice for you and if you feel that
> speakup has to be in the kernel, I will put you in contact with a few
> ubuntu kernel developers so that this can be worked out. Again that is
> if you would like to contribute to the freedom movement.  Every system
> has some thing missing but as i keep on saying avail the powre of your
> freedom it is for you.
> I use pidgin and recommend it to beginners.
> so chatting is no issue.  I love emacspeak and use debian at many
> places but if some one is coming from the windows background, yes I
> will recommend ubuntu.
>> Instead, I would recommend Debian.  It has a talking installer with
>> Speakup.  It also has Gnome and Orca.  It's updated more often than
>> Ubuntu if you go with testing or unstable.  Ubuntu inherits almost
>> everything from Debian eventually anyway, so you get it in Debian
>> first.  If you install from unstable, you'll get newer versions of Gnome
>> and Orca without waiting six months for Ubuntu.  That will also give you
>> a good grounding in console access with speech.
> agreed, but speakup has to go with hardware synth to my knowledge.  if
> debian has an accessible installer which works with espeak then i
> would certainly start massive migrations in my next phase with debian.
> Last time when I checked debian it did not give an apt-on cd kind of
> system where I could put softwares like vlc etc and create custom
> update cds for my clients.  Else I personally support debian and as
> you rightly said ubuntu inherits debian so if it becomes as good, then
> why not.  By the way we all awaite the next major release of debian
> and I hope that we will have atlist orca 2.24 to the least.
> If that happens and the existing hardware support problems are sorted
> out then I have no hassels telling people to start using debian right
> away.  As a side note I install and recommend debian for intermediate
> or expert users because once a certain level of expertese is gained,
> ubuntu looks to monotonous and dry.
>> The only other thing I would add is that your employer might use an
>> entirely different distro, such as Fedora.  In that case, it doesn't
>> matter what you install because you'll have to learn something new
> i don't worry as long as it is free software. I know with some
> tweaking orca runs better on fedora as well for example.
>> anyway.  If you just want to learn the basics, burn a live CD of grml or
>> similar and just play with that until you get the hang of how things work.
>> I'll just add one final note.  I hope this has been fixed, but I
>> verified with sighted help that the instructions for accessibility with
>> speech using the Ubuntu live CD are just plain wrong.  I don't remember
>> exactly what I had to do to get speech, but I posted about it several
>> times here and on the Speakup list.  Even at that, I still had to
>> manually launch Orca on one machine, even though the sighted person told
>> me that I selected the screen reader.  How is that totally independent
>> installation for the blind?
> Which version are you using?  i have at least done 500 + installations
> of ubuntu hardy without sited assistance and never had the problem you
> described.  with hardy things have changed for the way you would start
> orca and lonch talking installer.  Did you check with the orca irc
> channel and mailing list?
> We will be interested to know what the problem exactly is.
> And again, Please do let me know about the speakup support for
> software speech synthesizer if available.
> And more importantly does it work with the debian installer?
>> The bottom line is simply that there is no right or wrong distro to
>> use.  I really like Debian, but I could also recommend Slackware and
>> Gentoo for different reasons.  For someone relatively new, I would say
>> to try Slackware or Debian.  If you really have no interest in the
>> console and never want to learn it, Ubuntu is probably fine.  I am
>> converting a sighted person to Linux.  I gave him Debian and he has been
>> very happy with it.  He had no previous Linux experience and only used
>> Windows.  He had no interest in learning the command line and had a very
>> hard time with DOS.  He's now almost to the point of not using Windows
>> at all.
> We all love debian don't we?  my only worry is that debian has given
> problems with many new machines including laptops in particular.  at
> the end of the day users should be comfortable.  I am myself
> comfortable and i use debian at a lot of places including my personal
> desktop.
>> If you have further questions or problems, contact me off list.  I offer
>> a low cost yearly support service and I'll be more than happy to guide
>> you through setting up and using Linux.  Let me know if you're interested.
>> Thanks,
>> Tony Baechler
>> tony at
> happy hacking.
> Krishnakant.> _______________________________________________
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