Sonar GNU/Linux merges with Vinux

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Mon Apr 24 16:03:35 UTC 2017

For reading, if I can't read it in Firefox, I usually convert it to
plain text and read it in nano.

Gmail's view as HTML function works for most attached documents, and
the following command line utilities are all useful:

catdoc for .doc and I believe .rtf(and I believe catdoc also includes
commands to handle xls and ppt).
odt2txt works for OpenDocument Format, which is the most notable
format Gmail can't convert to html.
html2text handles whatever I get from Gmail's conversion or web pages
I save for offline reference.
pdftotext which is part of poppler-utils does fairly well, though
formatting sometimes causes converted files having text out of order.
pdfimages could be used to extract images from a PDF for feeding to an
OCR program.

Granted, I know of no command line tools for dealing with ePub or
Kindle formats, and while my talking eReader can handle most formats,
it doesn't do Kindle.

Personally, I wish more eBook services offered plain text versions of
their content.

And for what it's worth, as someone who doesn't use braille, I'd
rather there was a version of Orca that was only a screen reader
instead of being forced to install braille support I don't use, and I
suspect there are at least a few braille users with no interest in
speech who would like the option of installing braille support with
having to install a screen reader or speech synth.

As for the which keystroke should my screen reader's talking clock be
attached to:
1. I didn't even know that was a feature in some screen readers,
though apparently it doesn't work with either combination mentioned on
my install of Orca(granted, I'm running the most bare bones of
xservers I can instead of a proper desktop environment).
2. I think we might be getting too caught up in trivial details.
Besides, I have trouble imagining someone giving Linux a try and being
tripped up by something so small. Trying Linux isn't something the
non-Power user is likely to do without much prodding from a power
user, and I would think anyone who could be scared off by this would
either be scared off much sooner, or wouldn't make the attempt.
3. My bedroom has four devices with talking clock functionality, and
in the unlikely event that I'm at my keyboard without having at least
one of them within arm's reach, I can always google time. Now, maybe
I'm not representative of screen reader users, but it seems likely
that most screen reader users own at least one talking clock, and
quite frankly, no matter which key binding is used, this seems like
the kind of thing most wouldn't even know exists(I've been using Orca
daily for over 4 years, and this is the first time I've heard of this
feature period), and it certainly is the kind of functionality one is
likely to stumble upon by accident(who even thinks to try hotkey
combinations involving the insert key?).


Jeffery Wright
President Emeritus, Nu Nu Chapter, Phi Theta Kappa.
Former Secretary, Student Government Association, College of the Albemarle.

More information about the Blinux-list mailing list