Sonar GNU/Linux merges with Vinux

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Tue May 2 16:53:26 UTC 2017

Christian here, reply inline,

On Sat, 29 Apr 2017 08:07:59 +1000, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
> Luke Yelavich here, reply inline.
> On Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 11:18:22PM AEST, Linux for blind general 
> discussion wrote:
>> BTW.: During this discussion many things have been said about commercial 
>> and specialized distros, but IMHO things like systemd or pulseaudio are 
>> much more problematic for people who are using screen readers on linux. 
>> For example getting sbl working with speech-dispatcher is a pain on 
>> Debian...
> That is more to do with permissions than anything else. The problem right 
> now, is that the software we use to help with reading the screen and/or 
> speech synthesis is running as root. This on its own is not really 
> acceptable, but right now it has to run as root to work with the various 
> kernel interfaces provided to do its job. Fortunately this is 
> fixable, thanks 
> to systemd's logind and a bit of udev rules work.

Fully agree. It is not aceptable and the screen readers, which need root permissions now, should be fixed to run also with a unpriviliged user. But the work has to be done and as far I know from the developper of sbl it isn't easy.

Does anyone know, if brltty is able to run without root permissions?

> The problem then becomes working with audio, because again, permissions. By 
> default, distros configure things such that audio is only accessible to the 
> currently logged in user, whether it be on a text console, or in a 
> graphical 
> environment. Sure, you can add users wanting audio to the audio group, but 
> this is actually not considered secure, and can break functionality 
> of other 
> things relating to audio. Can't think of anything specific right now, but I 
> think I've heard of such in the past.

Also agree, audio is the other big problem. I run pulseaudio in the unsupported and insecure system mode, that solves those permission problems, but it is not easy to setup and configure, especialy for new Linux users.

> Running everything needed by the user as a user when logged in is of course 
> not a problem, assuming permissions are properly set for the various device 
> nodes.

I am not sure, if it isn't a problem at all. sbl has an automatic profile switching mode and AFAIK this kind of feature also needs root permissions.

> What needs to happen, is for work to be done on logind, to allow 
> software to 
> run as a non-privileged user, such that it can work with audio output and 
> required device nodes. This non-privileged user and special session, would 
> only have access when the current focus is on a terminal with nobody logged 
> in.
> I implemented a solution back in the Vinux 4.0 days, when ConsoleKit was 
> being used, but didn't send it upstream due to the impending change to 
> logind. I have not yet taken the time to look into how the same could 
> be done 
> with logind.

It would be cool to work on those kind of things in future, because in my eyes that are causing the biggest problems for linux newbies and even for expirienced linux users.

Who on this list has a talking orca environment running at the same time with a talking screen reader in the textconsole?



Christian Schoepplein - chris at -

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