Testers wanted for BATS talking rescue CD

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at redhat.com
Sun May 14 13:27:43 UTC 2017

Hi all,

As some of you might remember, I posted test talking live CD images last 
year. I got very little feedback, most of which was understandably negative. 
Those old CD images are still available, but I'm happy to announce the third 
major rebuild. Everything has been redone from scratch. At least in KVM, it 
boots much faster and seems more responsive. It no longer uses systemd and 
doesn't include Network Manager. I really, desperately need testers. I can't 
test wireless or Braille here. I have limited hardware. What would be 
helpful is for people to test on as many different hardware and sound setups 
as possible. Let me know what doesn't work. Here is what you need to know:

1. It's a 64-bit image only. I will produce a 32-bit image if there is 
enough demand. It runs on x86_64 hardware. I tested it with 1 GB of memory, 
but it should require less. The concept, idea and package lists were 
borrowed from the Devuan minimal live CD. This image adds many more packages 
and is based on plain vanilla Debian testing. It uses standard sysvinit. I 
have no plans to switch to systemd. I tried systemd on the other images and 
ran into lots of problems, including being much less responsive and not 
letting people login on some hardware.

2. It includes brltty but it might not start automatically. If Braille 
doesn't work, try starting it manually. The version is from Debian stable to 
avoid the systemd dependency.

3. It has a lot of non-free firmware and wireless tools, so hopefully your 
wifi should be detected. It automatically tries DHCP. It includes the 
standard openssh server which generates new host keys at every boot for 
better security. I haven't tested ssh login yet.

4. The boot menus still need a lot of work. It does boot, but there is no 
audible feedback. Just press Enter to start the boot process. This will be 
fixed soon.

5. It uses my 4.10.7 Speakup kernel, so hardware speech should work without 
issues. You probably have to rmmod speakup_soft and modprobe your synth 
module by hand. It uses standard syslinux, so there might be a way to do 
this at the boot prompt. I'm not sure. Here are sample commands, as root:

rmmod speakup_soft ; modprobe speakup_ltlk

The login user is "bats" with no password. You can't currently login as 
root, but sudo works as expected. If you don't have networking, try running 
setnet or setnet.sh and follow the prompts. It can be installed to a hard 
drive, but I highly recommend against it and I will offer no support for 
hard drive installations. Almost all packages are from Debian testing. You 
should be able to add and remove packages as normal. There is no security 
support. There are almost certainly security issues. It should run from USB, 
virtual machines like KVM and burning the .iso to a standard CD. You may run 
"refractainstaller" if you want to try installing, but again, this is highly 
discouraged. It's meant as a live and rescue CD, not an installable distro. 
It includes several games and utilities, but if you know of more which 
should be included, please shout.

Other than hardware, wireless and Braille testing, the biggest thing I need 
now is a list of missing packages. I tried to include everything obvious, 
but I'm sure your favorite tool isn't there. I have about 200 MB left to 
work with, so please send suggestions. You can email me privately or post 
here. I'm working on a mailing list for discussion. The list just needs to 
be configured. Also, I'm looking for at least one co-maintainer to release 
updates periodically with the latest packages. Please let me know if you're 

Here is the download link for the .iso and SHA256 checksum:


Thanks to iavit.org for hosting. It's called bats64 with the snapshot date. 
Again, let me know if it doesn't work for you or if you run into problems. 
Thanks for your feedback!

To email me privately about this CD image or for support options, please 
write to bats at batsupport dot com.

More information about the Blinux-list mailing list