FYI - Command Line Programs for the Blind

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Wed Apr 13 08:56:09 UTC 2022

Let me first say that I am myself a massive fan of command line programs,
but I believe graphical programs also have their place, and depending on
the information being conveyed, can sometimes be more officiant for blind
users. One practical example is when one has to sort a big directory of
files, deleting some and keeping others. For this I would reach for a
graphical file manager, or even dired in Emacs (which is also not a command
line program, but a full screen program very similar to GUI equivalents.)

My personal take is that the argument in that article was valid in the 90s
when graphical screen readers were still very basic and quirky. The fact
that speech (and braille) are stream-oriented interfaces, is a fact well
understood by graphical screen reader developers today. Modern screen
readers query the accessibility API and present to the blind user a view
which is actually very similar to something like Edbrowse.
To illustrate my point, if you take the experience provided by Orca and
Firefox, swap out speech for command line output, and swap out keyboard
commands for command line input, you might end up with an interface quite
similar to Edbrowse.
That is not to say that there isn't a place for Edbrowse, I think Edbrowse
can be very useful for both blind and sighted users alike. I just don't
think it is necessarily more accessible.

Command line programs are also usually much more performant, because they
don't need to do complex graphical rendering. This is of course
advantageous for a speech user, and is perhaps one drawback that graphical
user interfaces still have. I often wish that I could turn of graphical
rendering completely in GUI programs, not just something like a screen
curtain, but turning off the entire code path involved in that process.
This might mess with spatial calculations of Orca though, for example flat



On Wed, Apr 13, 2022 at 8:08 AM Linux for blind general discussion <
blinux-list at> wrote:

> I recently ran across this item on Hacker News (
> Command Line Programs for the Blind
> - Rich Morin
> _______________________________________________
> Blinux-list mailing list
> Blinux-list at

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