Introduction and question Linux

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Sat Nov 25 14:07:51 UTC 2017

> I would like to make the switch to Linux.
> My questions are:
> 1. Is it possible?

Yes! plenty of people do.  I've run Linux full-time as my desktop for
about a 15 years, and a mix of Windows & Linux before that.  I've
recently added some FreeBSD and OpenBSD into the mix for fun.

> 2. Is the accessibility ok?

There are plenty here who seem to think so (grin)

> 3. Is it correct that Ubuntu mate is the best system for us?

There are lots of flavors and it depends on your experience and
likes.  Fortunately, if (as you describe later) you plan not to
install but rather just run it off a USB drive, you can try out a
bunch of flavors and see which suit you.

> 4. How do I make a usb stick to reboot my Mac with Linux?

I'm a command-line guy (there might be a GUI way on the Mac, but I'm
unfamiliar with it), so you'd find the device-name of your USB drive
with something like

  gianni at my-mac$ dmesg | tail

and compare the results before and after you insert the USB drive.
With that device name (maybe something like "disk2").  A quick web
search suggests you can also use the "diskutil" command:

  gianni at my-mac$ diskutil list

to find it.  If your Mac already mounted it, you'd have to unmount it
with either

  gianni at my-mac$ umount /dev/disk2

(note, no "n" in "umount") or use `diskutil`

  gianni at my-mac$ diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2

Alternatively, you might be able to use "Eject" in Finder to unmount

Once you know the name and that the USB drive isn't attached, you'd
take the disk-image you downloaded and write it to the drive with the
"dd" command. You might also need to use `sudo` to gain root

  gianni at my-mac$ sudo dd if=ubuntu_mate.img of=/dev/disk2 bs=1M

Sudo should prompt you for your Mac password which you can then type.
The "if" is short for "input file" and "of" is short for "output file"
and the "bs" is for "block size" (which speeds things up if you
read/write a megabyte at a time instead of reading/writing a single
byte at a time; you can increase this to 2-4MB if you want, but I
find that 1MB at a time is sufficient).

I'm not sure of the magical Open Firmware command to boot a Mac from
a USB drive.  Another quick web-search suggests holding down the
Option key when you hear the boot-chime and releasing it once the
boot-manager comes up.  I'm not sure how accessible the boot manager
is, so you may or may not need some sighted assistance there.  It
should be (at least visually) apparent which boot device is which,
letting you choose the USB drive instead of your internal hard-drive.

> 5. When I restart after I am in Linux, does my Mac react normal
> again after using Linux?

Yep, as long as you didn't perform an install, it should be fine.

Another alternative would be using something like Virtual Box to kick
the tires within the safe confines of a virtual machine where you
won't impact your host Mac.


If you run purely off the USB drive, it should reboot fine.

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