Screen reader advice for a Linux sysadmin

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Tue Feb 27 19:08:54 UTC 2018

Hello Kathy,

I am just getting started on learning system administrations, as I've 
always wanted to host my own web site, e-mail, and manage my DNS. I 
started out with a Windows server 2012 R2, but found that it was too 
expensive. Plus, people say that in terms of security, Windows is one of 
the worst operating systems to host Linux due to its faulty 
construction. They described it as being built like a strainer. You can 
plug up all the holes in the strainer, but some water will still manage 
to leak out of it. Linux, on the other hand, was built more like a tea pot.

I started out without a virtual server at I didn't 
like how things were going, so I cancelled it and got a Ubuntu server. A 
friend of mine got me set up with PuTTY, and another friend showed me 
how to install Open SSH with Scoop in Windows Power Shell. I could now 
use that to SSH into my server. I use NVDA for all of these things.

Next, I had the opportunity to try out a Vinux virtual machine, so I 
used that to manage things in the terminal, and Orca was pretty good at 
it. I generally find Java platforms very inaccessible with NVDA.

I wonder if the reason Java seems to work work with Voiceover is because 
Java works differently for Unix and Unix-like operating system?

Anyhow, I now have a VPS at Of course, if you 
wanted to go on a more professional web hosting and domain name 
management service, you can use Go Daddy. I just found out that they do 
indeed have VPS and dedicated servers, so that could give you some 
things to work with. But, if you simply want to test things, get a 
Linode, server or two, as they are generally cheaper.

I never really liked the audio quality of RDP. It compresses the audio 
way too much. I mean, if you had to use a Windows server, you could 
install NVDA Remote on both copies and then control it that way. I never 
tried VNC, but I don't think you would really benefit from it as it's 
primarily a web-based console that is inaccessible. You would rather be 
better off just using NVDA Remote to control the Windows server, or 
using SSH in Windows Power Shell, or install a programme like PuTTY and 
Win SCP.

Since you have tried a Mac, you can just SSH directly from within the 
terminal, since it is, after all, Unix-based.

Hope this helps you out some. :-)


On 27/02/2018 10:55, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
> Hi everyone --
> I just joined this list and I am a Linux sysadmin who has been in IT for
> over 20 years and my sight now is pretty close to nothing.  I am down to
> about 5 degrees of vision and going to nothing at some point, so am
> starting to look at screen readers to get used to them before everything
> goes dark.  I'm looking to see what other Linux users use and what works
> best.  I have a somewhat complicated desktop because I work in an
> engineering environment that has a lot of engineering tools based on java
> and X-Windows.  Some of the other tools are web based, which makes it
> easier.  I support a lot of varying tools and servers, both Linux and
> Windows.  I switched back from Linux to Windows as my base desktop for the
> accessibility functions.  I have cygwin installed so I can ssh to my
> servers.  I also use VNC Viewer so I can get to a VNC session on my servers
> in a gui and I also use RDP to get to my Windows servers.  I have decided
> that I loathe JAWS in the short time that I have tried it but admittedly I
> have not used it for very long.  I so far like NVDA much better and find it
> much more simple to learn.  I also use a Mac at home so have toyed with
> Voiceover.  I'm beginning to think that one screen reader is not going to
> do it all for me.  And that I just need to get used to one of them to
> start.  NVDA can read and understand a cygwin window, which is great.  It
> has zero idea what is inside a VNC viewer session.  I haven't yet tried it
> on an RDP session with Windows.  I know ORCA is available as well on
> Linux.  What do you all use?  Any advice?  I'm wondering if I would be
> better off with a Mac as my base operating system since I've heard
> Voiceover handles Java apps better.
> Thanks for the advice!
> Kathy
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