redhat itself

John G Heim jheim at
Thu Aug 11 14:37:23 UTC 2016

Well, this goes back to the reason I helped create the International 
Association Of Visually Impaired Technologists. There doesn't seem to be 
anybody taking systems admin accessibility seriously. I talked to Curtis 
Chong of the NFB about this. The NFB spends a lot of it's resources 
talking to Microsoft about fairly minor accessibility flaws in Excel, 
Word, etc or to Amazon and Netfliks about the accessibility of their web 
sites. I argued that something like the Red Hat kernel not having 
console speech was more important because that could cost a sys admin 
his job. In fact, I know that things like that cost sys admins their 
jobs because I've seen it. You may not be fired for not being able to 
access the console on your servers. But what happens is that someone 
else is given all the duties involved with console access. It's one 
thing after another like that and pretty soon, your entire job consists 
of nothing more than helping people change their passwords. And when 
layoffs come around, you're the one to go. And that's only fair -- after 
all, you are the least valuable person in the department. I've seen this 
happen often enough that I even coined a term for it. I call it "getting 

I doubt that not having console speech is a huge problem for more than a 
handful of blind systems admins. But it is just one more brick in the wall.

On 08/11/2016 08:49 AM, Janina Sajka wrote:
> Hi, John:
> It's certainly possible to build rpms with the staging modules for
> Fedora. I used to do that years ago. Bill Acker kept up with doing that
> in recent years. While he wasn't the maintainer at rpmfusion for that
> particular package, builds did seem to cease about the time of his
> demise.
> I'm also surprised that others weren't clamoring for these drivers for
> their own, non Speakup related reasons, but I never did find any
> discussion like that. I filed bugs with each new Fedora release, but
> nothing happened. In fact the very last release at rpmfusion never
> worked because of broken dependencies. I've been sitting on a 4.0.3
> kernel until I finally switched to Arch. Key functionality on my systems
> had begun to break, for example linphone.
> Yes, there was the option for me to take over building these rpms.
> However, it's not were I want to focus my efforts these days. I
> certainly thought about it. After all, there's a good deal of
> dislocation involved in switching distributions. Not everything works
> the same way, and I've already bumped into a need for workarounds.
> Fedora is certainly a major Linux distribution with much to recommend
> it, but easy use of Speakup is no longer one of its attributes. On the
> other hand I'm not aware of anyone using RHEL with Speakup. Certainly,
> there maybe someone who's figured that out. I can categorically report
> that Bill Acker failed in his attempts to build RHEL kernels with
> Speakup support, though these efforts took place some years ago. I'm not
> aware that he tried post 3.x, for instance.
> Lastly, I should add that the very argument you're making is one I tried
> making with the U.S. Access Board when the first Sec. 508 regulations
> were being written.  Doug Wakefield didn't agree, and my argument was
> not accepted, and Redhat, among others,  was able to slither off the
> hook around low-level systems accessibility.
> Janina
> John G Heim writes:
>> Surely there must be somebody building kernels with those modules so that
>> you can  install by adding their yum repository to your system. If not, it
>> would mean that a blind RH systems admin couldn't do his work at the
>> console. If remote access is broken he'd be in serious trouble. Most systems
>> admins don't have a choice as to what flavor of linux they use in their job.
>> Here at the University of Wisconsin, the IT department used to run Red Hat.
>> The campus had a site license. The Math Department, where I work, uses
>> debian and ubuntu. But if I worked in another department, I'd probably be
>> stuck with RH.
>> I have been building kernels for debian and ubuntu that have a hack do
>> serial synths work. I set up a apt repository at so other
>> people can use them too. I don't know anything about Red Hat but surely
>> there must be the equivalent of a ppa.
>> On 08/10/2016 09:10 AM, Janina Sajka wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> Well, I've moved from Fedora to Arch on any machine where I need
>>> Speakup. The reason is that rpmfusion has not provided kernel staging
>>> modules since kernel 4.0.4.
>>> So, I had the choice of constantly building my own, or switching
>>> distros. I chose the latter.
>>> I am still running Fedora on my data center server, but I don't use
>>> Speakup on that machine, of course.
>>> Janina
>>> Willem van der Walt writes:
>>>> Redhat these days is mostly used on servers as one buys support for that,
>>>> but it is accessible.
>>>> I ran Redhat years ago, but these days, I think, Janina is still running it
>>>> or Fedora without problems.
>>>> HTH, Willem
>>>> On Sat, 6 Aug 2016, Mark Peveto wrote:
>>>>> Hmm, I noticed this is hosted on  Does redhat have an accessible distro?
>>>>> Everything happens after coffee!
>>>>> Mark Peveto
>>>>> Registered Linux user number 600552
>>>>> Sent from sonar using alpine 2.20.14
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