Prospects for an accessible and open version of Android?

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Sun Jun 21 16:35:49 UTC 2020

A couple of questions about the MeerKat:
Do you have to plug in a mouse and/or monitor for it to work when it
starts up? I had this experience on another Ubuntu system
Can you get a built-in battery? I don't understand the point of a tiny
device if you have to plug it in to use it.


On 6/21/20, Linux for blind general discussion <blinux-list at> wrote:
> My apology for not keeping the initial question in mind.
> However, I wonder if asking an Android phone to serve this function is
> more an academic exercise than a practical one at this point?
> I say this because I'm just now in the process of buying my next
> (natively) Linux computer, and it's quite small. It comes pretty close
> to the size of an Android phone. So, I suspect it might be the easier
> path of practicality is the point.
> I'm talking about the MeerKat 5 (small) from (which you can
> get with up to a 10th generation Intel I7, 64Gb RAM, and 2Tb NVME
> drive), all in a box about 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches by 1.5 inches tall.
> The base price is very competitive with a new Android device, imo, with
> far more going for it when portable Linux is the goal.
> Which is not to put down academic exercies aimed at hacking Android into
> something usable. I just think the two questions are worth treating
> separately.
> Best,
> Janina
> Linux for blind general discussion writes:
>> I think Amanda is trying to get back to the question I originally posted.
>> That is, she wants to set up a cell phone with a (mostly) FOSS Android
>> variant,
>> in order to have an accessible, extensible, and extremely portable
>> computer
>> that is under her (rather than Google's) control.
>> Although she might use the Android UI for some tasks, the goal is to have
>> a
>> command-line interface and a set of blind-friendly commands that she can
>> enter
>> via Bluetooth, SSH, etc.  Longer term, entering commands by braille or
>> voice
>> might allow her to dispense with a separate keyboard.
>> As my posting indicated, there are several candidates for a base OS, but
>> it's
>> hard to tell which one(s) would be a good fit for this use case.
>> Suggestions?
>> - Rich Morin
>> > On Jun 15, 2020, at 23:59, Linux for blind general discussion
>> > <blinux-list at> wrote:
>> >
>> > I don't understand your question. An Android device is a Linux device.
>> > It runs on linux kernels, implements several Linux libraries. Its audio
>> > subsystem is driven by alsa.
>> >
>> > The user doesn't see this, of course, because all of that is under the
>> > hood, so to speak. The user interface on Android is written in Java, so
>> > bears no resemblance to the graphical desktop one might see on a
>> > typical
>> > Linux computer, typically GNOME or KDE.
>> >
>> > So, what are you asking? Please say more.
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> --
> Janina Sajka
> Linux Foundation Fellow
> Executive Chair, Accessibility Workgroup:
> The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
> Chair, Accessible Platform Architectures
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