Blind vs. mainstream distros

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Thu Apr 27 14:25:38 UTC 2017

As I remember, Windows was always harder to install than Linux, even
as a sighted user. Granted, I think part of this is that Windows still
comes pre-installed on most PCs and has had this privilege since at
least the Win9x days while PCs with Linux pre-installed are still
fairly rare(hell, even if you plan to install Linux on a new PC,
unless you're building from scratch, it's often easier to buy
something with Windows pre-installed and nuke windows than to buy
something with a blank hard drive), so any Linux distribution with
aspirations of chipping away at MS's desktop market share needed to
prioritize ease of installation while Microsoft can rely on even the
dumbest end-user either buying Windows pre-installed or finding
someone who can do the installation for them.

As for activating/deactivating various input/output methods, within
the limits of practicality, I think activating as many as detected
hardware allows and letting the user deactivate those they don't need
is a superior default for a one size fits all installation disc,
rescue disk, boot loader, or bios than activating the bare minimum and
requiring users to know things to activate additional IO methods they

Which do you think would piss off more users:
A: An install disc that comes up with text instructions and a text
menu on screen and nothing but keyboard input and if you can't see the
screen or lack a monitor, you need to know the right key presses in
advance to activate other IO methods and you're screwed if limited
mobility prevents you from using a keyboard.

b. Text instructions and a text menu come up on screen. The on screen
text is mirrored to a braille display if available. Speech starts
reading the instructions. Keyboard, mouse, and voice input is active
if the appropriate devices are connected. The insturctions include
the toggle keys and voice commands to enable/disable each IO method
including an all option that will drop to just keyboard and on-screen
text. Mnemonics for accessibility features(assuming an English
default) might include the following toggle keys:
a: all accessibility features.
s: speech output
b: braille
v: voice input

Note: the accessibility features mentioned in b are not intended to be
all inclusive, though I did try to consider disabilities other than


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

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