[fedora-india] [Report] Fedora @ Devnar Foundation for the Blind

Shakthi Kannan shakthimaan at gmail.com
Sun Sep 13 11:10:19 UTC 2009


Today, Sunday, September 13, 2009, I deployed Fedora 11, and Fedora 11
offline repository at Devnar Foundation for the Blind, Mayurmarg,
Begumpet, Hyderabad, India.

They have been using a proprietary software on a proprietary system,
and wanted to explore better alternatives in this regard.

I was given a 256 MB RAM system, with 40 GB hard-disk. This system did
not have Internet connectivity. The offline repository really helped.
Most of the systems are donated by companies for the school to use.
The school follows the Andhra Pradesh State syllabus, and this year
they have introduced Intermediate (after Board X). They write their
exams on slate or on Braille paper (which I believe, is very
expensive). Some students stay in the school hostel, while others' are
day scholars.

They do have one MountBatten Brailler [1] (costing around 1,00,000
INR) which can produce output to a computer or a printer. It also
spells out the input. I didn't have time to test it with Fedora
(serial, parallel ports).

A junior teacher, Miss. Shashi, did try out Orca [2] with the Gnome
shortcut keys, listening to Orcas' audio output. She was able to
navigate through the Gnome menus, and use Openoffice.org Writer. They
did want spoken American English, which is default in Gnome. It will
be good to have those Orca audio recorded in Telugu or other regional
languages in India.

There were some very interesting questions like:

* Orca loads only after logging in -- which spells out menus, the
frame window that is selected, keys pressed etc. So, grub which loads
prior to all these doesn't announce the choice of kernel. So, how does
one choose the right kernel?

* A sound can be played after gdm loads? Otherwise, they wouldn't know
if the system booted to gdm or not. If there are multiple user
accounts, some application need to spell-out the login names?

* By default there is no shutdown sound in Fedora 11? How to set one?

* Some applications pop-up menus didn't support tab feature, so one
had to remember to use shortcuts like Alt+S to Save, or Alt+C to

I shall check these requests with the Orca project team, and any other
queries that they might have as follow-ups.

I would like to thank Padma Shri Dr. A. Saibaba Goud for giving me an
opportunity to deploy the solution at their school. Thanks to Rakesh
("arky") Ambati for introducing me to them, who also works for
'Braille Without Borders' [3]. Eric Ofori from South Africa will be
following it up with support for the school staff (about 40 in
number). If anyone in Hyderabad is interested in helping them, please
do contact me offline.

With all due respect to the physically challenged, I did not take any photos.


[1] http://mountbattenbrailler.com/
[2] http://live.gnome.org/Orca
[3] http://www.braillewithoutborders.org/ENGLISH/index.html

Shakthi Kannan

More information about the Fedora-india mailing list