Getting started with Linux

krishnakant Mane krmane at
Fri Oct 24 18:51:14 UTC 2008

On 24/10/2008, Tony Baechler <tony at> wrote:
> Hi,
> For some reason, you think I like Windows.  I don't.  If I did, I
> wouldn't post here and I would be running XP or Vista.  I've been using
> Linux in various forms since 2000 and shell accounts long before that.
hi, I am extremly sorry if you got hert with my comments and my
sincear oppologies for what seams to be a misinterpritation of your
email.  By the way I know so many people who post to gnu/linux related
mailing list but are firm supporters of their "all mighty bil gates "
and the "golden cage " of windows and related proprietory software.
never the less, since you have been using gnu/linux i can understand
your feelings.
> I don't like the direction that Microsoft is going with Windows and I
> really hope that Orca can eventually compete on the same level as a
> Windows screen reader.  I agree with you that there have been great
> strides in this regard in just a few years.
Orca is indeed much better in some aspects than any given windows
screen reader.  Read by sentence, progress bar reading consistency and
many such features are striking in orca and I would recommend all
readers of this thread who might have hesitation to shift to gnome and
orca that if you want to take complete advantage of the accessibility
on GNU/linux then change the mindset a bit.
I think whether features are in orca alone or come by a combination of
a few things (never happens in windows ), they are features never the
less and provide a much scientific way of working and in most cases
are having much superior and comfortable working stratagies.
> Regarding Firefox 3, the site I had trouble with was an accessible
> site.  I admit that I'm used to the Windows way of doing things, but I
> found myself confused and unsure of where I was on the web page.  If one
> is used to Orca, I'm sure one would have no problem with navigation.
Exactly.  I agree with you that it is a bit of change.  But if I value
my freedom i will jump at the positive changes as soon as I have them
as an alternative.  I would suggest that we put in some time and learn
the orca way of doing things because we will not just be more
productive but also completely free.  I was a windows and jaws user
untill 2006 but for last 1 year I have exclusively used free software
and only ubuntu, debian and fedora.
I use only ubuntu for my daily work and I am a busy IT consultent so I
can't sacrify work at the cost of non functional free software.
So the point is that since ubuntu 8.04 in particular I find no reason
i should tell people to still use windows.  I find no reason why
people should not migrate to the world of technology freedom with
> Window-Eyes does offer link and heading lists.  I'm not sure what you
> mean by filtered links, but I think Window-Eyes offers that as well.
May be but why should one use window-eyes or any thing that is not a
free software unless we have decided our masters and whom we call all
mighty techno gods.
By the way firefox has the navigation bundle as an extention which has
the links list.  after the list opens, you can filter the list by the
words you expect to appear in the links.  This is perticularly helpful
when i open my inbox.  I filter it with the word linux so that I only
see those links.
> The point is that those things aren't currently in Orca and a lot of
> accessibility support has been because of Firefox itself, not the screen
> reader driving it.
That presisely is the best part of free software acccessibility.  This
is the best idea i ever found.  I love the concept of firefox itself
offering a lot of accessibility.  So tomorrow if a better screen
reader than orca comes up, I will have the same accessibility with
same keyboard commands from firefox right out of the box.
Free software believes in freedom and freedom implies choice.  So the
uniformity can be maintained by a modular approach and instead of
putting the entire load on the screen reader, the responsibility is
happyly shared by all involved parties.  Infact the best part of gnome
is that accessibility is built-in with the desktop and gtk library.
that's why orca comes by default with the latest gnome versions.  U
can't dream of such a high quality screen reader coming by default
with windows.  While using jaws i was always in a state of discomfort
in many places because the approach was absolutely rubbish.  The
vertual buffers and forms mode is the best example.
>Again, I am probably too used to Windows, but one of
> my hesitations in switching entirely to Orca is that the screen reader
> itself still doesn't do a lot to make apps more accessible.
I think that is the smartest thing orca does by not taking too much of
responsibilities on it.  Look here all the software in this ideology
is free as in freedom.  So it is always better to have the
accessibility infrastructure built-in with the concerned apps.  This
way orca can then concentrate on better presentation of the
information.  One day if some features of orca disfunction for some
reason, the basic accessibility will still be there and the user will
not be stuck.  This is why orca has moved so rapidly.  Openoffice,
Firefox etc. all provide accessibility from there end which orca
easily exploytes.  How does it matter if the support comes from
firefox or orca as long as the need is served?
So if you admit to be too used to windows way of doing things then
just admit to your mind "I have worked the wrong way thus far but now
I have alternatives " and change your mindset for the ultimate
betterment of your computing life.
>I also
> admit that I don't know Python and have no idea how to script Orca.
> I am not a programmer and I don't use Emacs, so Emacspeak isn't a good
> fit for me.  Even with Emacspeak, it is impossible to hear boot
> messages.  If you have a kernel panic, speech goes silent and nothing
> works, just as in Windows.  With Speakup, not only to you hear that
> there is a kernel panic but you can still review the screen and know
> what happened.  I have recommended Emacspeak to others though who wanted
> a GUI environment for Firefox and OpenOffice but didn't want to give up
> the command line.
I agree with you on this and this is very very unscientific.  I think
if speakup can support espeak then the problem will be solved.
> The Debian installer itself doesn't support software speech, but Speakup
> most certainly does.  Again, with the grml live CD, I used ESpeak with
> no problem.  One could boot to the live CD and install grml which is
> basically the same as Debian unstable.  Then one could install tasksel
> and add the desktop environment task.  That should bring in Gnome.  I
> think one still would need to manually install Orca.
No as I said the beautiful part of free software is that needed things
are there by defualt default and orca is one of them as far as gnome
is concerned.
And now a days I see no difference in orca and any top quality windows
based screen reader.  I don't fee any thing missing, mind you my work
schedule is very high and I do a lot of complex work on the computer
including programming.  I travel a lot and always feel so secured with
ubuntu and orca.  And i feel orca is much better in many aspects than
any proprietory screen readers.  The question is "do we have the
attitude and mind set to live in the world where things are done in
freedom "?
I also have customers who don't have good internet.  So i have to
carry apton cd to install extra packages and ubuntu does it in a very
userfriendly way.
If any one has any questions about how to learn using orca and ubuntu,
feel free to right to me.
happy hacking.

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