SV: Getting started with Linux

Anders Holmberg anders at
Sat Oct 25 23:52:11 UTC 2008

One thing that i must say is that i am really intrested in running ubuntu.
And its so great that you can install this by your own.
Windows has its unatended install but you really sure must know what you are
doing or not doing when you compile a such cd.
I have tried the ubuntu live cd but only had luck with my braille display.
This may be caused by my m-audio card so i can not say its ubuntu.
But i really hope that ubuntu supports m-audio cards.
I was in to debian8 years ago so i am not sure i have any faith in my self
installing it.
But maybe i can fix it on my own.

-----Ursprungligt meddelande-----
Från: blinux-list-bounces at [mailto:blinux-list-bounces at]
För krishnakant Mane
Skickat: den 22 oktober 2008 13:13
Till: Linux for blind general discussion
Ämne: Re: Getting started with Linux

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 
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
> 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

> 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.> _______________________________________________
> Blinux-list mailing list
> Blinux-list at 

Blinux-list mailing list
Blinux-list at

More information about the Blinux-list mailing list