Sonar GNU/Linux merges with Vinux

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Mon Apr 24 12:58:45 UTC 2017

I haven't tried Fenrir and wouldn't know where to start with trying
it, but I've tried speakup both on x86 Debian(both 32- and 64-bit) and
on a Raspberry Pi(via piespeakup) and except for not needing screen
review to play classic infocom games under Frotz, found it vastly
inferior to SBL, the text mode screen reader Knoppix uses when in
Adriane mode. Sadly, as far as I know, Knoppix and Suse are the only
distros with packages for SBL.

And even if there is some advantage to a text-mode screen reader being
hooked directly into the kernel, I'd have to agree that it probably
doesn't outweigh the disadvantages of messing with the OS's core.

On 4/24/17, Linux for blind general discussion <blinux-list at> wrote:
> Tony,
> I said absolutely nothing of Red Hat hosting Orca. I said they ship it
> with the distribution, which they are not at all obligated to do, as
> proven by the fact that Linux Mint didn't come with Orca in the live
> environment for a very long time. As for Speakup, it has never been
> fully ready for prime time up to now, and there are very good reasons
> why it is still stuck in the staging tree. If you want to talk about too
> little too late, then I would talk of Speakup, which is only recently
> getting its act together enough to hopefully make it out of staging and
> into the stable kernel tree, maybe in the next couple of years if we're
> lucky. Meanwhile, we have a very nice package called Fenrir, which has
> taken the screen reader completely out of the kernel, putting it fully
> in userspace where it belongs. Perhaps this will address the issue of
> speech from a text only environment much better than Speakup ever could,
> as it can not only work on kernels without staging enabled, but it will
> also eventually be far more portable to things like FreeBSD, which has
> never had even a proof of concept kernel-based screen reader, and has up
> to now required ssh in order to get it to do anything for those of us
> who need speech output.
> Regarding installer accessibility, I have used quite a few installers,
> and Red Hat was one of the first major vendors to ship an installer that
> while not accessible by direct methods e.g. via speech on the machine
> where the OS was to be installed, did come with a method of gaining
> access to the installation terminal via telnet, and also had kickstart
> files that could be used in place of the on-screen system. Of course
> Speakup had to be used via Speakup Modified, and before that, the kernel
> had to be patched, but I wouldn't call that not caring by any stretch.
> Once the graphical environment started becoming usable, Red Hat, now
> called Fedora, was already shipping Orca in its repositories, and they
> were one of the first to include the quite new at the time Espeak, which
> was far more responsive than Festival, and all the other distros soon
> followed. I'm not sure where in the world you have come to the
> conclusion that Red Hat simply doesn't care about accessibility. Is it
> because your beloved Speakup, which is stuck in the staging tree for
> more than 3 years now still isn't enabled in the Fedora kernel? Sorry,
> but it's way past time to look elsewhere for text mode screen reading to
> something that isn't locked into a kernel. No other screen reader is
> bound to a kernel, and there are excellent reasons that go far deeper
> than accessibility for disabling staging in a vendor kernel. Rather than
> complaining that a distro vendor doesn't enable a potentially insecure
> and/or unstable part of its kernel so that we can have a screen reader
> in text mode, those who use text mode on a regular basis and need a
> screen reader for it need to either learn how to muck about in the Linux
> kernel itself so that the screen reader can get out of staging and into
> the kernel proper, or better yet, contribute to Fenrir development,
> where everything goes on in userspace and the screen reader only relies
> on interfaces to stable and well-tested parts of the kernel that are
> never disabled in any distro or vendor kernel. If Red Hat decides not to
> accept a Fenrir package, then and only then can we begin to arrive at
> the conclusion that maybe perhaps they don't give a care for accessibility.
> ~Kyle
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Jeffery Wright
President Emeritus, Nu Nu Chapter, Phi Theta Kappa.
Former Secretary, Student Government Association, College of the Albemarle.

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