just how much can you do with?

Tim Chase blinux.list at thechases.com
Mon Mar 4 12:10:41 UTC 2013

> 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.

Now you're just egging me on... (smirks)

Regarding Michael Stutz's "Linux Cookbook", I particularly
like the cookbook nature of it's "if you want to do X, here
are instructions/tools to do it."  There's a 2nd edition
available for purchase from No Starch Press, either in
dead-tree or PDF at


so if you like what is in the free online 1st edition
online, considering the 2nd edition for purchase might be in

> 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. 

As a Vim user, I can appreciate your desire to keep your
hands on the main keyboard rather than losing your position
on the home-row.  Later on, you write:

> Why would one need to run more than one screen reader...at
> all?  Are the other built into the system already as well?

If not all pre-installed, they should all be in the repos,
making them just a simple install away.  I'm not sure one
would ever have a need/want to run them concurrently, but
they each have various strengths and weaknesses:

(con) harder to get set up if it didn't come installed by
default with your distro
(pro) can read everything from bootup on
(con) key-mapping seems to be hard-wired at compile time
(con) console only, not GUI

(pro) I found it much easier to set up than Speakup
(pro) keys were remappable if you wanted
(con) doesn't read from bootup
(con) console only, not GUI

(pro) Useful for the GUI and various terminal windows
launched within
(con) a bit more complex to set up
(pro) I believe the keys are fairly remappable
I haven't tinkered with Orca in a while, so I don't know how
hard it is to set up.

(pro) fairly easy to set up
(con) console only, not GUI
(pro/con) deeply built into the Emacs-Way
I haven't used it, so can't speak much on it

So as you can see, you might not run them all at the same
time, but you might find yourself using one in preference of
the others.  If you need a GUI, then Orca is your go-to
option.  Otherwise, you can weigh the pros/cons and settle
on what works for you.  Personally, I run yasr, but that's
because I grew tired of fighting to configure Speakup.  If
you have a system pre-configured with Speakup, it might be
a better option.

> I could spend  years reading up on the various ways to do
> things...instead of finding  simple paths to doing them.

Again, let this list help you.  As you can see, folks are
eager to offer their various expertise.

> Sigh, again I have another profession, becoming a
> programmer  is not what I want to do to manage my
> professional needs.

While you certainly don't need to become a programmer just
to be a user, I always recommend that *everybody* learn a
little bit about programming, even if it's just enough to
recognize "there must be a better way to do this."  Laziness
is a trait of the best programmers because we never want to
do the same thing more than once.  Set your tolerance
threshold really low for tedious activities and then, if you
need some assistance, drop a line here and hopefully we can
ease your pain.  I even coded up a simple time-tracking
application a while back because someone here asked if there
was a console-accessible time-tracker.  Now I use it for my
own job.  So things that bug you likely bug others who
aren't as vocal and would appreciate you stirring the bees'
nest for solutions. (grins)

> I do not use a text editor I use a full complete and
> functional word processor.  There is a considerable
> difference.

I found that back when I used Word Perfect, I flew with
"Reveal Codes" on all the time.  It's basically like HTML
under the hood, using various tags to indicate things like
lists, paragraphs, headings, etc.  But if WP works for you,
and you can get it running under Linux, then good on ya.

> In any case I have anew in box edition of wordperfect
> written for Linux.

Depending on the age of it, I don't know how accessible it
is.  YMMV.  However, if you're using the GUI with Orca, I
believe you can use AbiWord, OpenOffice.org, or LibreOffice.
Hopefully others will chime in here regarding their
experiences using Orca with those.

> 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?

For the most part, they're identical modulo the branding.
However, there are some minor differences such as the
release-speed of updates and how plugins do/don't work.
Native Firefox updates at a much faster rate than Ice
Weasel.  Also, I've had plugins work in Firefox but fail in
Ice Weasel (though usually, if a plugin works in Firefox but
not in Ice Weasel, it should be considered a bug in the

[omitting & condensing context about shellworld/telnet/ssh]

If you have your own second machine, then you should
certainly be able to configure it to do everything the
shellworld account does and then telnet/ssh from your
workhorse machine into your Linux box instead of your
shellworld account.  That means you can run any console
program remotely on your Linux box (edbrowse/lynx/links/w3m
for browsing, pine/alpine/mutt for mail, ircii/finch for
chat, etc).  Running GUI applications remotely is much more
of a mess.

Of course you'd still have the peculiarities of working
remotely, so if you telnetted/sshed into your local Linux
box and did things like play sounds or use the screen-reader
there (instead of on your workhorse machine), the audio
would come out of your Linux box rather than your workhorse
machine.  But that can lead to fun, like remotely saying
hello to somebody downstairs where your Linux box is via its
audio output while you sit upstairs at your workhorse.

Things like webinars and YouTube are the hardest to access.
For YouTube, there's a program called "yt-download" which I
occasionally use to download the underlying media file and
then play it back locally.  Note that I had to download the
latest version from github because Debian Stable moves too
slowly to keep up with YouTube's changes.  I don't have a
good answer to webinars.

You can do all this and still keep shellworld if that meets
certain other needs, as they're not mutually exclusive.

I hope this allays some of your concerns and spurs you to
play with abandon on your Linux machine.  And that you bring
questions here so everybody can benefit from answers you


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