Screen reader advice for a Linux sysadmin

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Tue Feb 27 22:23:53 UTC 2018

More great info, thank you!  This and what others have said has given me a
lot to look into and try.

As to the braille, I agree with you.  I have already taken a couple of
classes in it, but I have not kept up with it, mostly because I wasn't
desperate enough at the time I think.  But the writing is on the wall and I
need to get back to it.  I found it rather difficult to learn but I know it
gets better with practice.  :)


On Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 1:27 PM, Linux for blind general discussion <
blinux-list at> wrote:

> Kathy,
> well, there are several options in a straight linux environment.
> ORCA is, by far, the most used for any of the Desktop managers in Linux
> and X. It works best in GTK and Gnome based DM's and is mostly usable in
> KDE.
> There is also Speakup for console operations. This along with BrlTTY,
> Emacsspeak and some of the lessor known console based TTS engines are
> useful. The first 3 are most commonly used and are quite configurable.
> As an aside, I have found JAVA to be notorious for it's lack of
> accessibility, even in an OS X environment (I use a mac here and always
> have problems with Java, especially when the accessibility classes are not
> used) I have not tried java outside of windows or OS X, but there might be
> better results inside of Linux.
> btw, NVDA can handle some things in windows that Jaws can't, and Vice
> Versa. I have often found that you need to have both (not running at the
> same time). Also, there are some apps in windows that are just plain
> inaccessible, regardless of whatever screen reader gets used (case in point
> is the safari web browser which presents what amounts to a blank scroll
> area). I have written apple accessibility on that issue and am not sure if
> they ever got around to addressing those issues.
> btw, one additional item you might wish to explore, learning braille.
> Believe me, it will come in handy especially when you are editing scripts
> and the screen reader makes a hash of it so far as reading them is
> concerned.
> Now, I am largely a self taught Linux System Administrator. I have used
> the OSsince late 1998 (along side windows and after 2008, OS X as well).
> Each OS has it's good points and can do some stuff that others might not.
> lastly, you might find working inside a VM a little frustrating without a
> screen reader on the inside it. Most screen readers on the host OS cannot
> read what's inside the application pane of virtually any VM (parallels,
> VmWare, etc). These panes are designed to emulate the direct output of a
> monitor connected to the Vm, so it will be graphical in presentation as
> well as base nature.
> I hope this helps you.
> On Feb 27, 2018, at 11:55 AM, 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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> > Blinux-list at
> >
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