Accessible Distros for a beginner?
Linux for blind general discussion
blinux-list at redhat.com
Thu Aug 20 15:59:44 UTC 2020
I am new to this mailinglist and new to Linux. I have been using Windows for years but now I want to switch into a free open source software Linux environment. After quite a while of research, I am finding plenty of general information on Distros by sighted Linux users, but not a lot of current info from blind Linux users. So I'm sending this in hopes to get some input from any blind Linux users, as to what you might suggest as an accessible Distro for a beginner, especially if it is something other than standard Ubuntu.
I am particularly interested in Slint, Parabola, Devuan, or Trisquel. I know Slint was created for blind Linux users so I assume that it must be quite accessible, but I don't know if it is intended more for advanced users, or if any of you started out with Slint as a beginner? I am interested in the other Distros I listed, but I don't know how accessible they are. Do any of you know if those Distros have Orca speaking during the installation?
Do any of you have experience with Slint, Parabola, Devuan, or Trisquel? Would you recommend either of them as a start out Distro for a beginner? Or do you use a different Distro that you could suggest?
I know that picking a Distro is a personal choice and apparently Distros can have varying degrees of accessibility features according to how they are configured. But my understanding is that some Distros are more accessible out of the box so to speak than others.
I know that standard Ubuntu is often recommended for beginners for its ease of use, at least, it seems to be a popular recommendation amongst sighted Linux users, I don't know if that is also the case with blind Linux users. I respect those who prefer Ubuntu, however, I am not comfortable with the corporate connection to Canonical. I am only interested in Distros with a strong focus on freedom of open source software with no corporate affiliations.
I am looking for a simplistic and streamline Distro.
All I want is a Distro that will run Firefox, LibreOffice, Python 3, a text editor, and a file manager. If I can find a Distro that will run those things and is at least somewhat beginner friendly, I'll be set.
I'll be keeping my Windows laptop and buying a separate laptop with hardware that is compatible with whatever Distro I choose, so that I can switch over to Linux incrementally at my pace. So I am not interested in dual boot or VM. I am determined to learn Linux, even if the first Distro doesn't work out so well for me, then I will try another one. So to me, it is worth having a dedicated laptop.
I've been in contact with a laptop organization specializing in Linux compatible hardware setups, and they will install a Distro of my choice, making sure the accessibility features are enabled. I can learn how to do installations independently once I gain the experience and skills over time. But for now I just want to start somewhere, with something that is as accessible as possible out of the box and they can install it for me the first time around.
From what I have read online, there is often a steep learning curve when adjusting from a Windows environment to a Linux environment. Whereas Windows just comes with most software preconfigured out of the box, Linux is customizable so some beginners can have a hard time adjusting to it. So I am not expecting Linux to just instantly work one hundred percent seamlessly, especially when adding accessibility features into the equation. There will probably be some challenges along the way. But it seems that some Distros are more streamline, minimalistic, and beginner friendly than others. I just don't want to unknowingly pick the most daunting Distro that Linux has to offer lol.
I want something where the installation package and boot process is accessible so that when I patch it in the future, or ever need to do a reinstall, I will be able to do that independently.
I want something where Orca speaks consistently in essential apps like Firefox, and also has good braille output as I will eventually connect it to a braille display at some point.
Do any of you use Slint, Parabola, Devuan, or Trisquel?
Perhaps you prefer other Distros that I havn't heard of yet. I am open to all suggestions for anything other than standard Ubuntu.
Thanks in advance for any info you could share with a beginner looking for a Distro with an accessible install and boot process.
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