just how much can you do with?

Karen Lewellen klewellen at shellworld.net
Mon Mar 4 02:17:19 UTC 2013

Good evening Sir Knight, smiling.
Riding to the rescue again are you?

I mind not an epic if it is informative.  After all many epics are 
classics of literature going firth for centuries.
In context below.

> You might try Michael Stutz's "Linux Cookbook" (another book
> with the same title, by Carla Schroeder is also available,
> but I've not read that one, so I can't speak to it) is
> freely available online at
> http://dsl.org/cookbook/cookbook_toc.html

I will most certainly take a look at this one.  The title sounds 
I presently have this one,


Which frankly is wonderful for a class, but not as fundamental as I might 

> I have it in dead-tree, and even as a long-time *nix user, I
> learned new things reading it.

Sounds even better, if I can take the book down and use  it on my main 

> You might be able to find something at a local community
> college.  Unfortunately, from what I've seen Linux has
> gotten to the degree of "user friendliness" (read "things
> hidden behind a GUI") that these courses may not be quite so
> accessible, or they might teach a particular distro.

Just so, my equal slight concern with a users group.  One must to my mind 
master the screen reader and the os at the same time.
  Because of Linux's clay like nature though, some are hiding flexibility 
behind a gui in an effort to look more like windows.

> If you can give examples, others here on the list might be
> able to help.

I sent Larry Hart two examples privately, am sure I have that note to 

A cursory read over the docs at
> http://www.linux-speakup.org/spkguide.txt I see a lot of
> references to "keypad {number}" which usually refers to the
> keypad on the side of a regular keyboard.  On a laptop,
> those keys are often translated to the right portion of the
> keyboard so you have M=0, J=1, K=2, L=3, U=4, I=5, O=6, and
> 7, 8, and 9 are the same.  Sometimes this needs to be
> enabled by either a "numlock" or "function lock" button, but
> laptops vary so much in this regard that you might need
> sighted help to test them out.

I am going to check if there has been a upgrade since my copy of the 
manual mid 2012 or so.  The wonderful advantage of my DOS screen reader is 
that I rarely have to take my hands off the main keyboard to review stuff. 
I can use a screen review structure etc.
Will share the key stroke strangeness though as the keypad controls 
were not the issue.

> These are called "shell scripts" and are much more powerful
> than .bat files in DOS.  Over at Linux Journal, Dave Taylor
> has a long-running series of "Work the shell" articles
> archived at
> http://www.linuxjournal.com/users/dave-taylor
> which can walk you through the basics through more advanced
> usages.

Will visit this too, but this illustrates my point so to speak.
I could spend  years reading up on the various ways to do things...instead 
of finding  simple paths to doing them.
Again the advantage of in person work.   I have to know what I have in the 
first place understandably before I can know what I need to script.
When I first  came to computing in 1988 I spent two days learning the 
screen reader some applications and some basics about DOS itself. 
Additionally I learned where to go to learn more as I needed.  When I 
changed screen reader programs to this one in  1994 or so, it took a half a 
I could simply keep moving professionally incorporating the new  programs 
into my work life.
I desire the same with Debian and its built in screen reader speakup.  To 
learn hands on  what I must to function and be done with it.

> Additionally, most distros come with a multitude of
> full-fledged programming languages you can use for more
> complex tasks.  I tend to prefer Python, but Perl and Ruby
> are both usually available.
See above.

Sigh, again I have another profession, becoming a programmer  is not what 
I want to do to manage my professional needs.
I would rather once I get a grasp of this thing in the first place, find 
others to do what I may or may not be able to do myself fast enough.

> From the console, I've found that it's easier to use a
> format(s).  So you might author your document in DocBook,
> LaTeX, HTML, or Markdown using your favorite editor, then
> use a command to produce a resulting PDF, HTML, or .DOC file
> output.

I do not use a text editor I use a full complete and functional word 
processor.  There is a considerable difference.
Why use a text editor when I can in Wordperfect have my choice of four 
different forms of ASCII text?

I tend to compose in HTML and then generate output
> directly from that (if I even need to, as most folks know
> how to handle HTML files just fine).
HTML?  that is used for writing websites as I understand it mostly Ducky, 
not well documents smiles.

Not in my fields smiles.  In fact some of them scream at the very 
suggestion of Microsoft word because the program does not build on itself. 
Thank goodness for rtf which later editions of wordperfect swing 
I can do this in say wp 6.0 save it as rtf to share and all is fine.

I need not print in or write in Linux of course, just trying to give the 
second computer an additional purpose in life.

> > I've heard of folks running WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS inside a
> dosbox, but I've not played with that, nor can I speak to
> how accessible it might be.

Actually I was never fond of wp5.1 for dos.  I use the last three editions 
6.0 6.1 and 6.2 instead.  that is a fine example of individual 
differences. wp 5.1 is so simplified it  makes me crazy.
Still one can run dos editions of wordperfect under say windows xp.  There 
are modern printer drivers written and everything. 
see the lists at


I think.
In any case I have anew in box edition of wordperfect written for Linux. 
If I can incorporate it into the Linux machine then I do word processing 
on it, otherwise I use what already works.
Even at shellworld, as  right now, I can use Pico, incorporated into Pine 
and I raft an email.  I can use it incorporated into lynx  when writing my 
gmail too.

> Browsers come in a ton of flavors, some being more or less
> accessible than others.  I tend to prefer actual-Firefox
> over Ice Weasel

Interestingly enough we just had a Firefox verses Ice Wiesel discussion on 
the main Debian discussion list.  The explanation was that there is no 
difference between the two programs save the name.
The reasoning provided is that it was needful for copy right reasons.  Are 
there other  actual differences then?

and I understand that 
it has 
pretty good > accessibility hooks under a GUI (i.e., running Orca rather
> than Speakup/yasr/emacspeak).  Others likely have better
> input regarding the best GUI and terminal browsers.

Half a moment!
Why would one need to run more than one screen reader...at all?
Speakup is incorporated in Debian proper, for the most part that is.  My 
understanding has always been that one could just use it for everything.
If this is not the case then how many screen readers must one learn for 
debian flexibility?  Are the other built into the system already as well?

Since you note my use of shellworld, I will speak to that here.
Shellworld is not exactly Linux, although it is open source.
Still if Debian worked like shellworld I would  not be worried  in the 
I run things at shellworld much as I do in dos proper.  I use the dos 
dsl package I have ssh telnet into shellworld, and  find elinks and links 
and lynx etc.  We do not have say ebrowse here, not close enough to  what 
shellworld actually is for use here.
We do have elinks here, which I Cannot have to my knowledge in pure dos 
though because it requires spider monkey to compile it for low graphics 
usage etc...although I got a post on the freedos list this morning  which 
may suggest otherwise now.
The shell gives me advantages yes, but there are things I cannot do with 
ease work wise.
For example I cannot attend a webnair directly in shellworld without 
If an associate sends me a link to a youtube source I must review, while I 
can certainly follow the link using pine or Alpine here at shellworld, I 
cannot actually reach the content here for many reasons.
I can use something like movgrab, type in the entire  yutube link use an 
option to convert it into say mp3 or something, and have it, but that 
takes a while.
I can visit the youtube mobile site.
and search easily, but then the tasks here comes to using what I find 

  I cannot download eudio materials at my library website at shellworld at 
It does not mean I could not use elinks  or links to do this directly 
from my computer, if I could run them directly from my computer.
I *should?* be able to do this in Ice Wiesel or Firefox though.
etc. etc.
I adore shellworld, the things I can do with documents, the ways I can 
work with mail, But there are times when I need more direct access to 
the content I require for work and the like.

> I understand what you mean about it being a tool.  I don't
> know if you're currently dual-booting, if this one Linux
> machine is your only boot-option, or if you're trying Linux
> on another machine

I had a separate machine built for Linux.  This one I am using now runs 
pure dos , 7.1 in fact.

(I see your email address puts you at a
> shell account, so that might give you a nice play-ground).

It has in theory at least.  Part of why I wanted an actual Linux machine 
was the suggestion that shellworld  works as Linux does...such is not what 
I am finding even in this helpful discussion.
I can use my dos screen reader, TELNET to shellworld, and do what I need. 
Now, if I could keep my dos screen reader, TELNET into my Linux box, run 
ice weasel  from here  or firefox or whatever without having to use 
speakup at all, or learn the code for commands that run on for lines, we 
are talking efficiency!
Actually, why can I not do this?
  Use the same ssh telnet package I use in dos to come here and telnet into 
my own Linux setup of debian squeeze?

> I started with Linux back in '95, installing Slackware from
> umpteen floppies was a LONG afternoon.  One machine was my
> work-horse, while my other machine was for playing around.
> I think I reformatted that second machine 50-100 times in
> the span of a year.  But it gave me the freedom to be
> fearless.

What a terrific line, the freedom to be fearless.
When I came to computing in 1988, it was the first and last time I bought 
a machine from a computer store.  I had to get it checked once and 
they promptly lost all of my data.  After that I learn what I needed to 
for upkeep, and or found the talent to build my machines for me to my 
specific  requirements.  I have done it that way  always.
I  spent two days training on what was then vert plus, learning 
the programs I would need for law school, including lexux nexus and west 
law, and of course wordperfect.  I learned the basics of dos, and how to 
build on my wisdom when I needed to.  This i have done.  I have changed 
synthesizers and screen readers many many times, added the needs of my 
different professions, Dos editions as well. 
But I found the training in person when needful, or clear direct and 
understandable manuals  when I did not.
I did not have to write my web browser, or my word processor, or even my 
monopoly game.
I should not have to program things to use them.
simply typing say ice  weasel from a command line should launch a browser 
and get me going.
I might need to edit my config.sys or audioexec.bat to insure I get maximum 
speech written in, but this scripting stuff should not be needful, a fun 
task for those who enjoy it, but needful, no.
If I must learn another screen reader, then one screen reader should work 
for  the entire operating system which ever screen reader that is...end 
of story.
Say much the way one or now two screen readers have always worked for 
apple systems.
Come to think of it, the way my present dos screen reader could work in 
windows too  had I bothered with windows.

I  have been running my work life, often under deadline for so long, I 
do not need to even give my screen reader a second thought.  It is solid 
like the floor, I can count on its function and insure  my work knowing I 
can come through on that front at least. 
If something does not work in lynx the cat, I try links or elinks here at 
shellworld etc.  All using the same screen reader. 
I draft documents of all kinds in wordperfect, saving them into something 
else if I must share them.
And I can I have learned do a couple of tricks with bookshare XML files to 
convert them into formats I can bring up easily into wordperfect for 
reading note taking and the like.
Mercy I can with a utility and my reading edge Scan sprinted  book into 
text move it over into wordperfect and be done with it.
I desire from Debian the same flexibility for the very few but very 
important things I cannot do as easily now.
Such is why I desired this Linux setup.

> As always, this list is a great resource on which to ask
> questions.  Especially if you're willing to wade through my
> epic-length replies (grins).

Tim, I learned more in this one email than I have learned in the past two 
days on the debian list.
Epic all. you. want.

In fact, your providing such wise writing brings up that TELNETTing 
Could I indeed do with my own Linux debian squeeze box what I presently 
do with shellworld?
use ssh TELNET and without changing the screen reader  run the programs 
over there?
Not just the basic things like pine and alpine, not that I need that, but 
browsers like ebrowse or even firefox  or elinks  and say because there is 
no layer between me and my actual hardware, say play a file  on a website 
with it running through the speakers and sound card of my separate Linux 
If not, why not?

> Take care, and feel free to ask questions here on the list
> as many of us are here because we find it fun to be helpful!

Thanks again for the fine fine start!

> -Tim

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