Installing Ubuntu on an AMD HP Laptop

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Fri Jul 20 12:03:10 UTC 2018

I haven't used Ubuntu personally since somewhere around 10.x, so I
can't comment on whether there is any compelling reason to use an
older version over the current LTS, which I believe is 18.04.

That said, I'm not sure Ubuntu is the best distro for a Blind or
Visually impaired newbie to Linux. Actually, I'm not sure there is any
mainstream distro with beginner friendly assistive technology out of
the box, with most that have accessibility bundled with their default
images only playing some indistinct sound when they've booted up far
enough to turn it on, and then requiring the user to enter some
keyboard combination. Even as someone who was using Linux full-time
for years prior to going blind and has been using Linux for years
since going blind, such behavior feels rather user unfriendly,
especially to a newbie who might not even know to listen for that
sound or that a special key combination is needed. Personally, it
would be nice if all major distros would implement a Welcome screen
that prints the message:

Welcome to [distro name]! Press [accessibility hotkey combination] to
bring up Accessibility Configuration.

to the screen while playing a recording of the same message and
sending it to any autodetected Braille Displays, or simply offered a
version of their Live/Install media that boots with speech enabled by
default. Wouldn't be perfect, but it would be a massive improvement
over the current situation.

Anyways, to offer an actual suggestion, if you just want a live
system, you might want to give Knoppix a try. It has its issues(it
only comes in a bloated DVD version, its mostly 32-bit and as far as I
know, theres no way to run it with both a 64-bit kernel and
accessibility, the way it installs itself to hard drive is kind of
hackerish an not recommended for the faint of heart, booting an
unmodified iso without issueing a command at the boot prompt will boot
without any accessibility features, and as far as I know, there isn't
even a beep to let you know when to do the command to bring up the
boot prompt), but it has some of the nicest accessibility features
I've encountered under Linux, and if you know how to edit ISOs
directly or how to burn one to a flash drive so the drive is
read-write, its a one line change to a single text file to make it
boot with accessibility features turned on.

The file that needs alteration is


in the iso, and I believe its the same if you burn to USB first.

And the line that needs changing is



DEFAULT adriane

And I've read that this file, plus other config files in the ISO are
padded with trailing hash marks(#) to make it easier to edit them
in-place if you open the iso in a hex editor. Granted, still not the
most beginner frinedly method, but at least the hard part can be done
from within an existing accessible computing environment, and once the
edit is made and you have it on a DVD or USB stick, its probably the
closest you can get to handing a totally blind, complete newbie the
DVD/USB and telling them to "boot this" without needing to give them
extra instructions. Of course, this assumes their BIOS is set to boot
options that aren't hostile to booting from Optical/Flash Media, and
its disturbing how many newer machines do have their boot setting set
to something hostile to booting a DVD or USB stick. I don't know which
I miss more: the days when booting from the primary optical drive if a
bootable disc was present was the default or the days when Knoppix had
official CD images that booted in accessible mode without having to
change anything.


Jeffery Wright
Bachelor of Computer Science
President Emeritus, Nu Nu Chapter, Phi Theta Kappa.

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