Screen reader advice for a Linux sysadmin

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Thu Mar 1 18:59:07 UTC 2018

Tim here.  Eric wrote about issues with man formatting. There are a
couple options:

At least with GNU man (the default on most Linux systems, but not the
BSDs), you can have `man` open your page in your $BROWSER.  So you
can do something like

  $ export BROWSER=`which lynx`
  $ man -H strftime

to show the man page for `strftime` in lynx.  Works fine with other
browsers like Firefox as well as long as $BROWSER is set correctly.
If you want this behavior ALL the time, you can issue

  export MANOPT=-H


  export MANOPT="-Hlynx"

in your .bashrc (or other shell configuration file).

Alternatively, you can pipe the output of `man` to `col -b` to strip
out the formatting and then pipe that to your $PAGER

  $ man strftime | col -b | less

This does the stripping you describe wanting to use grep/sed to do,
but saves you the trouble of coming up with an appropriate regular
expression.  This works both on Linux and the BSDs (and not just
with `man` but with any output that uses the ^H to backspace and
overstrike, whether for bold or underline)

Hope this helps,


On February 28, 2018, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
> that does help.
> However, given how the man pages are formatted, there are some
> issues dealing with the highlighted text inside those manages, as
> well as underlined links. What would appear, visually, to be a
> single word highlighted and in all caps turns into individual
> capitalized letters separated by spaces. the underlined text that
> is highlighted and underlined is even more problematic. I guess I
> am going to have to read on grep a bit in order to filter those out.
> -eric
> On Feb 28, 2018, at 5:23 PM, Linux for blind general discussion
> wrote:
> > -eric,
> > 
> > I honestly do not have any special software or configerations to
> > interact with the Unix console. I have noticed that each person
> > who is having issues with the Mac terminal have in common.
> > Remember Voiceover requires that you use the VoiceOver keys to
> > navigate the VoiceOver cursor. It is similar to the flat review
> > in Linux but uses different keys. You have to hold down the CTRL
> > + CMD keys to move the cursor. In addition to these keys you have
> > to make sure you are interacting with the terminal window.
> > VoiceOver requires that you are "interacting" with windows for
> > VoiceOver to read the contents of that window. To do this you
> > press the Shift key + CTRL + CMD + the down arrow. In terms of
> > the terminal window you would listen for "Shell" and perform the
> > interaction command. From this point you would use the VoiceOver
> > navigation commands to move around the stdout including the man
> > pages. 
> > 
> > To interact with the man pages simply execute the man page you
> > are interested in then use the above commands to read it. Once
> > you have read the currently displayed page you would press the
> > space bar to bring up the next section of the man page. You can
> > tell if there is additional pages not being displayed because at
> > the bottom there will be a : displayed letting you know there are
> > more pages to show. To exit the man pages you would simply type
> > the letter q. I typically will execute this command to have more
> > control of the man docs and can review them later. $ man grep >>
> > grep.txt
> > 
> > I am sure you understand what that is doing but in case someone
> > does not it is basically redirecting the stdout from the man
> > command to a file named grep.txt. I then will use vim or cat to
> > read the documentation. Hope this helps Bryan Duarte | software
> > engineer
> > 
> > ASU Computer Science Ph.D Student
> > IGERT Fellow
> > Alliance for Person-centered Accessible Technology (APAcT)
> > Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing (CUbiC Lab)
> > National Federation of the Blind of Arizona | Affiliate Board
> > Member National Association of Blind Students | Board Member
> > Arizona Association of Blind Students | President
> > Phone: 480-652-3045
> >   
> >> On Feb 28, 2018, at 5:03 PM, Linux for blind general discussion
> >> <blinux-list at> wrote:
> >> 
> >> -eric  
> > 
> > _______________________________________________
> > Blinux-list mailing list
> > Blinux-list at
> >  
> _______________________________________________
> Blinux-list mailing list
> Blinux-list at

More information about the Blinux-list mailing list