Blind vs. mainstream distros

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Fri Apr 28 12:01:25 UTC 2017

Tony Baechler here.

On 4/27/2017 3:34 PM, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
> I think it's fair to say that, for Linux to ever break into the
> mainstream, we need mainstream PC makers and PC retailers to commit to
> offering machines that come pre-installed with Linux and not hide
> their Linux offerings where only those specifically looking for Linux
> will find it.

I agree, unfortunately. Most users don't care about Linux. As another poster 
said, it's to the advantage of Microsoft to convince them that Linux is too 
hard to learn. That's where we as the blind have an advantage. Until we live 
in a perfect world, the blind are used to things not being accessible. Even 
at a young age, you realize you can't read print and you need either 
Braille, audio or electronic books. Therefore, the concept of Windows not 
being accessible out of the box is far from complex to grasp. Yes, there are 
screen readers, but there are still lots of inaccessible apps and web sites 
out there.

My point is that since we're already used to inaccessibility of things, it 
makes more sense that the next logical step would be Linux, especially if it 
is accessible out of the box, has a talking install, ships screen readers 
already part of the desktop and doesn't cost a fortune to upgrade. If you 
can show someone that they can do the same things in Linux but in a more 
accessible way, they are more likely to be interested. Of course the 
majority won't switch, but some will, especially if it's all over YouTube. 
In other words, put together actual videos of blind people using Orca for 
daily tasks and installing Ubuntu MATE by themselves.

I have to say this is one area wherespecialized distros are better. Ideally, 
you put a Ubuntu DVD in the drive, boot it and it comes up talking, similar 
to the Mac. In reality, that takes time convincing upstream. This is why I 
strongly suggest working with Ubuntu and developing an official flavor for 
the blind which would have that ability. If there is something like Vinux 
which does that while still offering the same apps, that might be a more 
viable option for the immediate future. I would rather see the Talking Arch 
approach though, where it's identical to what you get with regular Arch but 
with speech. That brings me back to getting the word out there as much as 
possible and getting a nonprofit to really push upstream distro developers.

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