Blind vs. mainstream distros

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Sat Apr 29 05:59:41 UTC 2017

One idea that just popped into my mind is this: Make a sort of book on
	using Linux, and let the National Braille Press have it. After
	all, they worked with some one on a book for Android users too,
	so why not Linux as well?
Sent from Discordia using Gnus for Emacs.
Email: r.d.t.prater at
Long days and pleasant nights!

Linux for blind general discussion <blinux-list at> writes:

> Tony Baechler here.
> On 4/28/2017 6:20 AM, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
>> Now that I think about it, I have no idea what the mixture of "blind
>> from birth/a young age" and "blinded as an adult" is on this list, and
>> I would imagine these groups would have very different perspectives. I
>> myself was blinded in the right eye before I could form memories, but
>> my left eye was good enough for anything short of driving until I was
>> 25, and best I can tell, the biggest loss from lacking binocular
>> vision is not being able to bring magic eye pictures into focus and
>> having to watch 3D movies in 2-D.
> I was born blind. I still remember my first exposure to computers. My
> very first machine was some kind of Atari which didn't talk but had a
> few games with sound. My first real computer was an Apple II+. I
> remember the thrill and amazement of booting the machine for the first
> time and actually having speech. I could actually do things on the
> computer. I could write letters, do homework assignments, etc. I spent
> many hours playing on first the II+ and later the IIe.
>> using. If anything, I would expect someone who has been using Windows
>> since the 9x days and suddenly found themselves blinded would be even
>> more reluctant to give Linux a fair chance than the sighted Windows
>> user, probably feeling that learning to use Windows with a screen
>> reader and without a monitor is a big enough challenge.
> That's why I push so hard for Ubuntu MATE. It's as much like XP or 9X
> as you're going to get. It has the equivalent of a Start Menu, Windows
> Explorer, desktop, etc. There is still a learning curve, but not much.
> The main thing I had to learn is which keys do what. Then again, I
> used 9X and XP for years. For a brand new Linux user coming from even
> Windows 7, I think MATE is a good starting point. For a brand new
> computer user, I don't think it matters as it's all new anyway. One
> nice thing about young minds is they're very adaptable and don't mind
> learning different interfaces. I remember going from the Apple II to
> DOS. It was hard to learn, but I knew enough from ProDOS to adapt.
> Learning Vocal-Eyes was harder than anything. Going from DOS to
> Windows 3.1 was frustrating. I couldn't figure out what I was doing
> and Window-Eyes 1.0 was crap. It ran incredibly slowly and locked up a
> lot, to the point that I had better luck without speech. Moving to 9X
> was relatively easy, especially since it still had a command prompt.
> Moving to XP was the most painless of all as it worked almost the same
> way as 9X at an interface level. I've used Win7 before, but not
> anything newer. I first found it a pain, but after turning off
> indexing and going back to the classic view, it wasn't too bad. I have
> no idea how I'll deal with Win10, but I have a few years before I have
> to worry about it. Hopefully I'll be fully on Linux by then and it
> won't matter, but there are still those programs which only work in
> Windows.
>> Though, a thought occurred to me regarding helping new blind linux
>> users learn the ropes, and it's something non-devs could contribute
>> to. How feasible would it be to produce a CD-length audio tutorial
>> that could be shipped along side install media for either a blind
>> customized distro or the talking version of a mainline distro?
> I've thought of this a lot. This is something I really want to do.
> There is a very great, desperate need for this. The problems I ran
> into are:
> 1. Money. People want to be paid. Even if you get volunteers, you have
> production costs, like CD manufacture, shipping, packaging, Braille
> labels, etc. Without the funding, I don't see it going very far. I was
> going to pay out of my own money, but I obviously have to make back my
> investment. There isn't much insentive for people to buy such a thing,
> first because of the open source nature of Linux but also because
> there is the chicken and egg problem. Do they try Linux first and buy
> the tutorial or do they take a chance on buying the tutorial and see
> if they want to try Linux? You have to at least give away part of it,
> or as you say, put it on YouTube.
> 2. To do it right, you need professionals who know what they're doing
> and good audio equipment. Someone at home with a cheap microphone
> doesn't sound good. Frankly, it sounds like exactly what it is,
> someone sitting at home with a cheap microphone. I've heard lots of
> those before. It takes lots of time and energy to produce it, edidt
> out mistakes, normalize the volume, do noise reduction and post
> production. We're talking about either a recording studio or someone
> with professional audio software. I have Sound Forge and I could do
> it, but see point #1 above.
> 3. There are political issues, rights issues and royalties. I was
> going to work with Kyle, but he would only do it if it was public
> domain. Obviously, I can't do that or I would lose my shirt. I could
> revert the rights to him after two years, but I have to sell enough to
> make back my investment. If I commission someone to do it and they
> want the rights, obviously I don't want them and I both selling it.
> I'm putting out a fairly large amount of money. Therefore, the
> conclusion I came to is either I have to do it myself, I have to wait
> until I'm wealthy and can afford to give it away or give up. For now,
> I've given up, but I think it's essential in the long term. I haven't
> even addressed who would produce the lessons, if it would be scripted,
> how many hours, what distros, if it would be shipped with new
> computers, etc.
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