whole bunch of questions!

Christopher Chaltain chaltain at gmail.com
Sat Jul 12 00:51:40 UTC 2014

It is true that with many open source projects, once the driving force 
behind the project moves on, the project can fade away over time. I 
would like to point out though that Vinux is still going strong even 
though the original driving force behind Vinux has had to step away from 
the Vinux project. Furthermore, one of the key developers on Vinux is 
also one of the key accessibility developers for Ubuntu, so 
accessibility improvements made in Vinux are taken forward and 
considered by Ubuntu.

I've also been watching the Sonar project, and it has also attracted 
developers to it in addition to the original developer who started up 
the Sonar project. That project also works very closely with the Arch 
developers, so again, accessibility improvements made in Sonar are also 
being considered by the Arch community.

I agree with the opinion that these distributions do more good than 
harm. I know several people who made the transition to Linux starting 
with Vinux and who are now rolling their own accessible systems or have 
jumped to mainstream distributions like Debian or Arch. With open source 
and Linux, you have choice, which is what it's all about.

On 07/11/2014 11:00 AM, John G. Heim wrote:
> You have valid points and I don't dispute them. But my opinion is that
> custom distros for the blind, like sonar and vinux, do more good than
> harm. My perspective may be influenced by working for a university but I
> see so many jobs for linux systems administrators and I think getting
> started with linux is so hard that  anythingthat helps with that is very
> valuable indeed.
> I recognize a lot of problems with custom distros. Like you say, they
> tend to simply disappear when the primary developer (and there almost
> always is just one person driving the whole project). They tend to lag
> behind the mainstream distro.  Probably the biggest problem is that the
> developers have considerable talent that could probably be put to use in
> the mainstream distro. Of course, that might be harder than you think. I
> doubt that a sonar or vinux developer could just waltz into the debian
> accessibility forumn and say, "We need to do this and this and this."
> But they can do that with their own distro.
> I would hope custom distro developers would keep 2 things in mind.
> First, they should look upon their distro primarily as a way for blind
> users to transition to mainstream distros.Secondly, they should do
> everything they can to try to get their improvements into the mainstream
> distro.
> PS: I know it was probably something you typed in without thinking but
> you probably shouldn't say you don't intend to argue a point and then go
> on to do just that.
> On 07/11/14 02:29, Tony Baechler wrote:
>> I'm not going to argue the point with you, but look at what happened to
>> Oralux.  It's long dead with no more support.  I believe there are only a
>> few active developers working on Vinux.  If one of them loses interest
>> and
>> moves on, that's about 1/3 or 1/4 of the development team.  Even if they
>> don't lose interest, what if they have a long-term illness?  Life
>> happens,
>> like it or not.  Debian has about 1,000 developers, so if one quits,
>> there
>> are still 999 left.  There are literally thousands of messages on the
>> debian-user list every month and tens of thousands of questions in the
>> Ubuntu forums.  I really doubt if Vinux has that much traffic.  The
>> fact is
>> that most sighted people don't know anything about the blind, don't
>> want to
>> know and don't have the interest to support the blind even if they
>> took the
>> time and effort.  There are other issues as well, such as a note on the
>> Vinux site to not install any Ubuntu updates because they might break the
>> speech support.  Besides the obvious issue of not gettine newer packages
>> with possibly better accessibility, your system is left wide open to
>> security exploits.  That was Vinux 3.X, so hopefully 4.X fixes that.
>> If you
>> run Debian stable and choose to upgrade your packages, you won't have
>> system
>> breakage.  If you run testing and upgrade Gnome, you could lose
>> speech, but
>> that's your choice and the price you pay for running testing.  Otherwise,
>> you're at the mercy of the Vinux developers to come out with a new
>> version.
>> On 2014-07-10 08:39 PM, Christopher Chaltain wrote:
>>> I don't disagree with what you're saying, but I'm not sure what you
>>> mean by
>>>> The other problem with a specialized
>>>> Linux is the lack of support.  There are tens of thousands of Debian
>>>> and
>>>> Ubuntu users while there are only a few dedicated Vinux users and
>>>> developers.
>>> It's true there are fewer people using and developing Vinux, but all
>>> of the
>>> support you get from Ubuntu also applies to Vinux. I find the answers to
>>> many more questions on my system running Vinux from the Ubuntu forums
>>> than I
>>> do the Vinux mailing list, wiki or IRC channel.
>>> Vinux developers are just making a lot of the changes you'd be making
>>> yourself on your own Ubuntu install, so in addition to being able to
>>> leverage all of the support out there for Ubuntu, you also get
>>> support for
>>> the changes you want to make to make your own system more accessible
>>> anyway.
>>> I'm not trying to talk up Vinux at the expense of Ubuntu or Debian.
>>> Going to
>>> Linux is all about choice. I just don't want people to get the
>>> impression
>>> that if they choose Vinux they'll be on their own.
>>> Note that this also applies to other distributions customized for the
>>> blind,
>>> such as Sonar, although Sonar is moving to a Arch based distribution
>>> instead
>>> of Ubuntu.
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Christopher (CJ)
chaltain at Gmail

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