Blind vs. mainstream distros

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Sun Apr 23 23:13:19 UTC 2017


Well now I think 2 approaches are identified, people can choose and it
is documented. :) I think we are in front of 2 experiences, maybe due to
2 countries or some reasons, we do not work with the same clients.
Interesting btw. Probably not the same levels, usages, needs, habits.
I'd be interested in knowing the number of blind people using GNU/Linux
in the world, for daily life (so with browser, GUI, etc).

I just hope the max devs will be common/cross-distros, and benefit for
everyone. I hope also that non-regression tests will come in free
software. And that distros will have a11y features, in a modular mode,
to be universal and avoid specialization. I don't forget the topic is
"blind vs mainstream", while my purpose is a fully accessibility beyond
vision impairment, but also from a level of knowledge point of view,
low-vision impaired people, and other kind of disabilities. But it was
useful to have this debate on the mailing list.

PS: no, it is not a typo, I wrote LibreOffice 4.2.6. And try ctrl-f11
then More styles, maybe you will see why I say it is just less
accessible. 5.3 has still worse a11y problems for now. And I don't quote
for Calc how it's hard to use in braille in latest releases. The needed
work is enormous in this suite. We reported about 30 bugs. But again, it
depends on usage and what is expected from an office suite.



Le 24/04/2017 à 00:45, Linux for blind general discussion a écrit :
> # It is not the Debian philosophy. Debian does not say "older is better",
> # but "stable is better", as known and we know how to deal with a
> # situation. And an update is possible is if it sure it will not break
> # anything in stable.
> In many cases these days, since everything is a moving target,
> 2-year-old packages are not simply stable, but instead are
> unacceptably old. The one case where this is different is in the
> enterprise and on servers, where really old and really stable are for
> some reason synonymous.
> # For persons who want to get benefit from an Orca improvement in Debian
> # stable, installing backport is possible. It mainly works fine, without
> # problems for the OS stability.
> ...
> Installing backports can help with some things, but again, it's better
> on slow-moving targets like servers. Maybe they need a later version
> of php or something, but don't need an updated kernel or system
> libraries. But backports is still another repository to install, and
> is still not kept up-to-date with the latest improvements, and is
> still a larger gap between the running version and the upstream
> developer, where bug reports are most effective. It's like trying to
> jump the Grand Canyon as opposed to jumping a pond. The goal of Vinux
> is to bridge the pond, not the canyon.
> ...
> # This 6-months cycle is perfect for power-users. Not for elderly
> persons,
> # new blind people, etc. which may be disturbed by so frequent changes
> and
> # regressions.
> Not at all. I work with regular users every day, and I can say that if
> stability can be achieved in a much shorter cycle, then it's most
> certainly better for the end user to have something that works and
> keeps working, given the opportunity to keep it running longer than 6
> months if desired, than to have to wait for beneficial changes to
> filter down over a two-year-plus release cycle. I must say that I have
> never even once recommended Debian Stable to a new client, because
> it's simply too old, and there's too much work to try to do to make it
> newer. Likewise, I've never even once recommended Debian Testing or
> Unstable to any end user, because those truly are for power users,
> even more than Arch, which I have actually had non-power users working
> with quite successfully, as I did an OEM-style installation, and the
> OS pretty much takes over at that point, with only about 5 things that
> have required user intervention in the past 6 years. That's an average
> minor breakage once a year as opposed to a complete reinstall every 2
> years. And who is to say that having to upgrade every 6 months is less
> painful than upgrading every two years, especially if the process is
> made painless enough? People now expect more and more frequent
> updates, as provided by the #1 mobile operating system in the world,
> (Android), and even ChromeOS on the Chromebook line of computers, and
> yes, even on Apple and Microsoft devices, all of which require a
> restart to update, and that full system upgrade now for the most part
> gets installed fully after that device is restarted. In fact, these
> kinds of things are not specific to power users, but are now expected,
> generating complaints from the average user if the system isn't
> updated frequently enough. Additionally, at least with Fedora, the
> release cycle may be 6 months, but the end user also has the option to
> keep the release for 13 months, skipping an upgrade if desired.
> # I don't forget that LibreOffice has not been accessible since 4.2.6,
> ...
> Is that a typo? I'm running 5.2.6 here, which is the "still" version
> that is the stable release. It's only 5.3.x "fresh" that is known to
> have showstopping bugs that make it less than accessible, and it is
> hoped that those will be fixed before 5.3.x becomes "still." That
> said, I feel 4.2.6 must be a typo, as I have used many versions since
> then, all of which have been accessible except the 5.3.x "fresh" branch.
> ...
> # the a11y stack in GNOME has sometimes bugs if release of each lib is
> not exactly the same.
> Which is exactly why all versions of libs must indeed be exactly the
> same, which is where Debian completely fell flat for me, requiring my
> switch to Ubuntu, and then to Arch. Debian Stable was entirely too
> old, and Testing and Unstable had too much breakage, with too many
> libs being of too many different versions to fit together properly, as
> for one reason or another, not every upstream lib was taken into the
> unstable or even the experimental repository at anything close to the
> same time, making it necessary to find a newer distro that kept the
> entirety of GNOME for example in sync with the rest of the packaged
> release.
> ...
> # And upgrading each 6 months requires some skills, standalone, and
> not all users have it. And
> # opposing power users of free shftware with beginners with Apple or
> Microsoft programs is not my
> # dream, even today.
> Nor is it mine. Which is exactly why I prefer the likes of Fedora and
> OpenSUSE over Debian or even Arch. I have installed both Fedora and
> OpenSUSE for clients, and they never have any trouble. And I'm not
> sure exactly what OpenSUSE is doing about the upgrade deal these days,
> but I have seen where Fedora is making system upgrades much easier
> than they have ever been in the past. OpenSUSE does have one important
> feature that I haven't seen in Fedora, Debian or Arch though, and that
> is the YAST control panel. It offers graphical configuration tools to
> do just about everything imaginable on the system, so people who are
> not power users can also perform system maintenance far more easily. I
> don't believe they intend to remove any of these tools any time soon,
> making it perhaps even better for the average basic user even than
> Fedora. And yes, most if not all these tools are fully accessible to
> the screen reader, or at least they were about 2 years ago when I
> installed it last, and that has most likely improved since then.
> Regarding upgrades requiring skill, I think Fedora has done the best
> job thus far making each system upgrade as painless as possible for
> anyone to achieve, and even allowing the user to skip if desired. So
> if Debian doesn't provide such an option, or if the end user has to
> fiddle around in /etc/apt/sources.list or to reinstall the OS even
> once every two years, then the upgrade process is not for the average
> user and should be avoided.
> ~Kyle
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