Blind vs. mainstream distros

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Mon Apr 24 14:48:29 UTC 2017

Kyle wrote:

> problem is that they already have a brltty package, but the
> brltty-minimal package is needed in order to make it work without
> pulling in lots of unneeded dependencies. This will always need to be
> in a separate repository unfortunately. Perhaps Chris, who maintained
> the iso before Kelly and I started maintaining it, can better explain
> why the unmute and prerecorded message aren't in the official image,

Chris Brannon here.

Yeah, brltty-minimal cuts out a lot of dependencies you don't want or
need on a console-only CD.

Sure, Arch Linux could add the prerecorded message and card picker to
their official media.  Nothing is stopping them from doing that.
However, without a console screen reader to go with it, there's no
reason to do it.  Yes, they could add espeakup and fold in the changes
to start Speakup into their official media.  In fact, that discussion
came up a long time ago, back when I started TalkingArch.  I had a long
discussion about adding accessibility to boot media on the
Arch Releng mailing list, way back in 2008.  Basically, the conclusion
was that it was better for TalkingArch to be a separate project, rather
than adding some accessibility boot option to the official media.

Frankly, my preference is not to have to type random incantations at a
boot prompt.  I call this "type and pray".  Power up the box, try to
guess when it boots, and then blindly mash some keys.  I'd rather have
the boot media try to start talking as early as it can, without
requiring human intervention from someone who is only able to make wild
guesses about the current state of the system.
That's why TalkingArch is a thing.

Maybe it would be nice if Arch could release an official "talking"
flavor of their boot media.  Maybe someone needs to have that discussion
sometime.  But I really don't see any problem with TalkingArch being a
third-party customization.

-- Chris

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