Sonar GNU/Linux merges with Vinux

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Tue Apr 25 14:01:55 UTC 2017

Sometimes that slogan about the perfect being the enemy of the good is 
useful, sometimes not.  In this instance, I'm inclined to think it's not.

Sighted people as a group disagree on a great many things, and vary a 
great deal on the willingness to compromise.  It's the same with blind 
folks, and we should expect no differently.  How willing I am to 
compromise depends largely on whether matters of principle are involved. 
  With computers and other devices, it also depends in part on whether I 
think I'm being called on to change for an arbitrary reason or whether 
the change seems to be intuitively better or clearly be a logical 

I use both JAWS and Orca.  I'm therefore used to using F12 with the 
first and the letter t with the second for getting the time.  It would 
be a bit easier if there were just one key for both screen readers, as 
there are with a good number of other keyboard actions, but I usually 
remember when to use which.  I'm kind of an old guy, so I had to learn a 
bunch of different keystrokes for several screen readers since 1989.  I 
have a memory like a broken coffee strainer, so maybe I should mind 
more, but it doesn't bother me too much if (a) I can learn gradually and 
(b) the thing I'm learning may have something genuinely better to offer, 
as with Linux.

Incidentally, the other side of this is why I hated screwing around with 
chromium and chromevox, along with the hassles of getting and installing 
the latter.  I had to learn too many keystrokes at once just to use the 
bastard, and I've heard of no reason why chrome/chromium couldn't be 
designed to work with existing screen readers.  (Correct me if I'm 
wrong, but as far as I know it hasn't been, although GoogleDocs or 
whatever seems to be better in that respect than it was.)

Concerning the time keystrokes, I think the orca key and t is more 
intuitive than the JAWS key and f12 is.  Other things being more or less 
equal, I'd therefore want the t for the time if I were designing a 
standard for all screen readers.  I might choose a JAWS key for 
something else, but no example comes to mind.  I don't know how much 
screen reader keystroke differences among screen readers has to do with 
blind folks not giving Linux a good shot, but I do suspect it would be a 
damned nuisance for many people, including me, if I'm using one system 
and find I have to use different keys in the hope of pulling folks over 
from another.  In this regard, "because it's the standard," seems to me 
harsh and arbitrary, at least unless it's true beyond any reasonable 
doubt.  (I refrain from ranting about the NLS switch from Grade II 
Braille to UEB only because I consider that it might in the long run 
flood the world with Braille.)

The complaint about there being two advocacy organizations among blind 
people (I think there are more now) is old.  As far as I'm concerned, it 
is as wrong as it was in the late 1970s, when I first heard it.  Yes, 
we're a small group compared to others--though maybe a larger percentage 
of people now than we were in the late 1970s.  Still, we're quite large 
enough to have people with varied ideas about what our rightful place in 
the world is and how we should try to get it.  The bitter battle that 
created the American Council of the Blind from what was almost the 
junkheap of the National Federation of the Blind seems to have had a lot 
more to do with personality clashes and tyrannical tendencies than I 
realized when I joined NFB, but there also were, or grew to be, some 
genuine philosophical differences between the two groups.  (I remain 
philosophically an NFB type in the main, but I'm not a member at the 
moment.) The people with those differences, as well as others, have a 
moral as well as a legal right to compete with their differing peers in 
trying to shape the place we live in.  Yes, our lives would be simpler 
if we were all united, and our list of "accomplishments" might be 
longer, but unity behind the wrong philosophy very well might give us a 
worse world, not a better one.  Which is the correct general course of 
action is, of course, still up for grabs, but we seem to be better than 
we once were at acting in concert when we find common ground.  I think 
the world would be a much better place for us if it adopted my NFB-style 
blindness philosophy, just as I think it would be better if it adopted a 
free software philosophy--and, indeed, eradicated so-called intellectual 
property from the known universe.  But it's more important to me, in 
philosophy and in practice, that we have reasoned, principled, caring 
discussions about how best to improve the world, a willingness to start 
from the ground up if necessary but to avoid it if it isn't, and to 
retain and respect the freedom of all of us to try to spread our 
different views regardless of perceptions about our disunity.  That's 
the kind of world in which I or anybody else can be proven as wrong as 
acid rain and, at least after a moment's whining, be willing to adopt a 
different view even on matters of principle.

I realize this got long as hell, but it seemed necessary.  Now for more 


On 04/24/2017 10:32 AM, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
> Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Again, a little give can
> sometimes be a very good thing. Honestly, nerds all seem to have this
> thing where they think their way is the best way. This is how distro
> religious wars start. But of all the community of nerds I am associated
> with, blind nerds are the worst. There is absolutely no compromise, no
> willingness to work together, nothing! In fact, it's ubiquitous in the
> blind community. We even have 2 different advocacy groups, the NFB and
> the ACB.  And the health of the blind community as a whole can just go
> to heck for all anyone cares. Drives me crazy. The reason why F12 should
> give you the time is that that the standard. Because people expect F12
> to give them the time. It's that simple.
> On 04/24/2017 01:11 AM, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
>> Why do I want insert+f12 to tell me the time when insert+t, (t for
>> time), can do that for me just fine and more intuitively? How is f12
>> better than t, which stands for time? No, that's simply not a logical
>> keybinding, and I don't want it in Orca. BTDubs, holding in the insert
>> Orca key and double tapping t for time does tell me the date. So again
>> I ask what the hell does f12 mean and why is it needed to do the same
>> thing that t already does?
>> ~Kyle
>> _______________________________________________
>> Blinux-list mailing list
>> Blinux-list at
> _______________________________________________
> Blinux-list mailing list
> Blinux-list at

More information about the Blinux-list mailing list