Blind vs. mainstream distros

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Sun Apr 23 20:12:26 UTC 2017

Very well composed email Kyle.

Thank you

Rob Whyte

On 24/04/17 06:02, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
> 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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