Blind vs. mainstream distros

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Sun Apr 23 20:02:18 UTC 2017

I think you misunderstand the way TalkingArch works. TalkingArch has 
very minor modifications to offer speech and braille output out of the 
box, but TalkingArch is essentially just Arch. There is no need for more 
developers, as we just take the official Arch iso and make very few 
modifications to it. We maintain a single package, (brltty-mimimal), 
which removes dependencies on X and other things that aren't needed in 
an official Arch installation and work around some sound issues by 
unmuting the sound cards and playing a recorded message and beeps when 
multiple cards are detected, and all that was done before Kelly and I 
started maintaining it.  No, TalkingArch is *not* a specialized distro; 
it's a modified ArchLinux iso that talks and outputs braille out of the 
box. Once installed, the end user has nothing on his/her system but pure 
Arch. This is what we offer in TalkingArch and nothing more. In reality, 
it only takes about 5 hours each month to keep TalkingArch working, and 
most of that is build and upload time.

Sonar and Vinux on the other hand are both specialized, as once 
installed, the end user sees a modified Linux operating system that is 
different from the parent. In the case of Sonar, the parent was Manjaro, 
which forked from Arch, so was already different, and in the case of 
Vinux, the parent was Ubuntu, which is based initially off of Debian, so 
is also different from its upstream. Once faced with the dilemma of 
finding a new parent distro because Manjaro stopped working or merging 
with Vinux, which was already facing such a challenge, it made perfect 
sense to pool resources and merge with Vinux. The good thing is that 
Vinux will in the near future base itself on a parent distro that has no 
other parent and is not a derivative or fork of another distro, meaning 
that the immediate upstream is the application developers themselves. 
Additionally, Fedora is nearly dead center between the Arch philosophy 
of the rolling release, having the latest and greatest at all costs, and 
the Debian philosophy, in which older is better, so the latest changes 
to Orca that make it work better on the web for example, which have been 
available for some time, may not make it into the OS for as long as two 
years. The 6-month release cycle is perfect, as nothing gets too old, 
and upstream is imported fully and directly at first, with a chance for 
instability and breakage to settle down before a full release, during 
which time, new upstream versions can be integrated into the released 
system if and only if nothing breaks. Meanwhile, any necessary patches 
are, in theory at least, sent back directly upstream to the application 
developers, similar to the way Arch works. And this is not at all the 
endgame. The ultimate goal is to be able to do away with Vinux 
completely, as upstream applications themselves will be perfected so 
that they work with the available accessibility stack, and this will 
eventually filter down into everything from Arch all the way down to 
Debian Stable and CentOS, and even into the various derivatives and 
forks such as Manjaro and Ubuntu. Yes, any chaining is mostly not really 
a good thing, but we're much closer to the top of the chain now than we 
ever have been, and the endgame is to work at the top of the chain in 
all things.
Sent from the range

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