I am happy to announce the release of Vinux 1.4!
NB: If you have any questions about Vinux please ask them on the Vinux Mailing list not
here as while the moderators of this mailing list are prepared to tolerate occasional
announcements about Orca related Linux releases it is not the right place to discuss
these packages and/or distributions!
Vinux a free and open source operating system which has been optimised for visually impaired
users. It is based on the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution and built around the Orca
screen-reader/magnifier. It is designed to boot your computer, log you in automatically
and then start up the Orca screen-reader with Braille support. Full-screen
magnification can then be activated with a simple keystroke.
New Features for 1.4!
Security: Unlike previous versions Vinux 1.4 has been built from scratch
using the Ubuntu 'mini.iso' 10MB network installation which means it
contains all of the latest packages and security patches as of the day of
Audible Boot Prompt: The Live CD now sounds the system bell three times
when the boot prompt appears on the screen, which then gives you thirty
seconds to type in any cheatcodes or boot options you require.
e.g. typing 'textonly' will boot into console only mode, you can then
type 'yasr' to start a console based screen-reader.
Braille Displays: The Live CD now supports a wide variety of serial Braille
displays in edition to the automatic detection of USB Braille displays.
In order to use a serial Braille display or a USB Braille display with a
different language table you simply have to type in a short code at the
boot prompt. e.g. 'alde' for an Alva Serial display using the German
language table, or 'alude' for an Alva USB display using the german
language table. There are a full list of cheatcodes included in the
'cheatcodes_braille_displays.txt' on the CD. By default Vinux supports
USB Braille displays using the en_uk language table.
Talking Login Screen: Once installed espeak will now ask you to enter
your username and password when the login screen is loaded providing you
do not enable autologin during the installation process. It will not
however echo what you type, but if you enter the wrong username and/or
password you will be asked to enter them again. It is important that you
should not enable autologin if you are using a wifi connection as the keyring
manager workaround detailed below depends upon a manual login to work!
Keyring Manager Workaround: Vinux now includes a workaround of sorts for the
keyring manager which is currently inaccessible with Orca. We have set up a
pre-configured keyring password 'vinux' which is retained on both the Live CD
and a full install. This means that when you try to connect to a wifi
network and Orca stops speaking when the keyring manager password dialog box
opens, you simply have to type 'vinux' into this box and as long as
autologin is not enabled you will never have to enter the keyring password
Lynx Fix: Lynx, Netrik and Firefox now use a local copy of the vinux.org.uk
homepage as their starting URL's by default which means that you can
open the broswers without problems whether you have an active internet
connection or not.
Menu Entries for Console Applications: I have added menu entries for some
of the extra console based applications provided in Vinux. This is to enable
beginners who may not know the names of these applications or their way around
the console to find and experiment with them more easily.
Download Vinux 1.4 - http://vinux.org.uk/downloads/old/1.4/Vinux-1.4.iso
Check md5sum - http://vinux.org.uk/downloads/old/1....iso.md5sum.txt
Vinux Homepage - http://vinux.org.uk/index.php
Full lists of all of the Keybindings for Vinux, Orca, Gnome and Yasr can be found
in the Vinux folder in the the home directory.
Credits: I would like to thank Osvaldo La Rosa for all his hard work
in providing the audible beeps and the Braille display cheatcodes,
and David Knight for suggesting the workaround for the keyring
UPDATE: Vinux - The new name for Vibuntu!
I am happy to announce that we have now rebranded Vibuntu as Vinux after
discussion with Canonical about the use of the 'buntu' suffix. They were
happy to let us call it the Ubuntu VI Remix but we decided to go with Vinux
which now recursively stands for Vinux Is Not Ubuntu but gnu/Linux! We have
been busy creating a new website, mailing list and development blog and hope
to have a new release out soon - Vinux 1.3! The URL's are:
Development Forum/Mailing List:
Development Blog: http://vinux-development.blogspot.com/
There are already threads created on the forum/mailing list for bugs reports,
suggestions, help and advice and user profiles, but you are free to start new
threads on different topics if appropriate. We do not expect there to be very
high traffic initially and we will still post significant new release
annoucements on other related mailing lists. The development team currently
consists of myself, Tony Sales (aka drbongo) as the main developer and
Osvaldo La Rosa (aka ald0) who is responsible for web administration etc. We
would of course welcome support from people who would like to contribute to
the project in any way at all. I will be posting a list of small modular
tasks which people might like to take on board as needs arise. Ideally I
would like to have a core development team of 3 to 6 individuals, with
specific responsibilities and a looser collection of individuals who would
contribute on an adhoc basis when required.
The project is still very much in its infancy and there is plenty of scope
Hope to hear from you soon, drbongo and ald0.
Vibuntu 1.2 Released!
I am happy to formally announce the realease of Vibuntu 1.2 and I feel that this is a significant release because I have now resolved the problem of Orca beong unable to read admin apps launched from the menus and activated USB Braille Display autoprobing. This was achieved by simply changing the entries in the admin menu so they launched as an ‘application in terminal’ using the sudo or gksu command when necessary. This simply opens a terminal, asks for the admin password if required and then runs the gui application. When you close the application the terminal closes automatically and focus is returned to the Orca window. The only exception to this is remastersys gui which for some reason does not retain focus, you have to alt+tab to move from the terminal to the remastersys gui. (This is a problem with remastersys rather than Orca/Gnome etc). Sighted or partially sighted users are advised to open the admin apps using the desktop icons which will run the admin applications in the standard way. (Thanks to Luke Davies for this suggestion) Of course this solution only works on top of the changes recommended on the Orca SysAdmin page.
The download URL’s are:
(This is a zip file containing iso and md5sum)
http://vibuntu.blinuxman.net/ and http://blinuxman.net/vibuntu/
(These are standard iso downloads)
The homepage is here:
The Development Blog is here:
I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this project by offering feedback, suggestions and criticisms. I would especially like to thank Osvaldo La Rosa who has enthusiastically taken on the responsibility for hosting a Vibuntu webpage and mirroring the images. This will in all probability be the last release of the year as I now want to take stock of what has been done, make available a list of features/changes, instructions on how to create Vibuntu from scratch and a wishlist of possible new features divided into easy, difficult and impossible!
As ever I would appreciate continued feedback and suggestions. I will set up a thread on the Ubuntu Assistive Technology and Accessibility section for people to post their suggestions!
Vibuntu 1.1 is ready!
The new release of Vibuntu is ready for download! It incorporates several significant improvements over the first version and a handful of small changes. Vibuntu is a remaster of the Ubuntu 8.10 'Intrepid Ibex' live CD customised to the needs of blind and partially sighted users! It is designed to boot from a live cd or USB memory stick, log you in automatically and then start up the Orca screen-reader. Full-screen magnification can then be activated with a simple keystroke.
Firstly I have resolved the problem of Orca not working with applications run with root permissions by following the recommendations posted on the official Orca website: i.e. I created an .orbitrc file for the root user, disabled the gksu keyboard grab and edited the sudoers file. This allows Orca to work with applications like the Ubiquity installer and the Synaptic Package Manager etc. However, the recommended way to launch these applications is to open a terminal by pressing 'Ctrl+Shift+t' and then typing the name of the application e.g. 'sudo ubiquity'. The reason for this is that launching these applications from the panel menus or desktop icons produces inconsistent results. In other words sometimes Orca works and sometimes it doesn't. Finding a way to solve this problem is still my top priority.
Secondly I have now merged the 2D and 3D versions of Vibuntu into a single .iso image. Vibuntu will now boot into the standard 2D magnification mode by default, however you can enable/disable the 3D magnification by simply clicking on a
desktop icon or menu entry. This means that you can try the 3D version without any risk of major problems because if it doesn't work or crashes the display you can simply disable the 3D effects or restart your xserver by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Backspace'.
Some minor improvements include Braille support being enabled at boot, a slightly larger red mouse pointer to enhance its visibility on both dark and light backgrounds, some new keybindings to open a terminal 'Ctrl+Shift+t', to open the home directory 'Ctrl+Shift+h', to toggle window maximisation 'Ctrl+Shift+m' and to toggle fullscreen mode 'Ctrl+Shift+f'.
The new release is available from the following URL:
Inside the zip file you will find iso image and a text file containing the md5sum of the iso image (not the zip file).
The image should also be available at Osvaldo La Rosa's blinuxman.net mirror within the next 24 hours:
http://vibuntu.blinuxman.net/ or http://blinuxman.net/vibuntu/
Osvaldo has also kindly set up a homepage for Vibuntu at:
You can use Vibuntu as a live CD, a portable operating system on a USB memory stick (Using Unetbootin) or you can install it
to your hard drive either alongside or as a replacement for Windows. In order to fit all of the accessibility settings on the CD I have had to remove some applications including: The GIMP graphical image manipulation program, the F-Spot photo-manager, Gnome Games and the Ekiga voice over IP package. You can easily reinstall these and many more open-source applications if you choose to install it on your hard-drive. I used the RemasterSys package to create Vibuntu and I have included this package on the CD in case you want to make your own customised live CD. N.B. The default username and password is 'orca', and this will be retained even if you install it to your hard-drive, no matter what you type in during the installation process. (You can change this by typing 'sudo passwd orca' into a terminal and then typing the new password twice)
As always I would of course appreciate any feedback on Vibuntu. Post any feedback: good, bad or just plain ugly on this thread.
What follows is a list of keystrokes you can use to control the screen-reader and magnification software. I will only provide a few basic keystrokes for Orca to get you started as they are all listed in the preferences window and are unchanged from the default settings. I have provided an exaustive list of the magnification/display keystrokes as I have customised them to make them easier to remember!
Open Preferences Window: insert+space
Open Main Menu: alt+F1
Move Through Menu/Text: up, down, left and right
Move Through Form: tab, shift+tab
Toggle Voice On/Off: insert+s
Quit Orca: insert+q
BASIC 2D MAGNIFICATION...
Toggle Magnification On/Off: insert+m
Increase Magnification: insert+(plus)
Decrease Magnification: insert+(minus)
ADVANCED 3D MAGNIFICATION...
Zoom In: win+z (win+left-mouse)
Zoom Out: win+x (win+right-mouse)
Zoom x1: win+1
Zoom x2: win+2
Zoom x4: win+3
Toggle Magnifier Box: win+m
Zoom In Magnifier Box: ctrl+left-mouse
Zoom Out Magnifier Box: ctrl+right-mouse
Resize Window: win+r
Zoom To Window: win+w
ADVANCED 3D MOVEMENT...
Pan Right: win+right
Pan Left: win+left
Pan Up: win+up
Pan Down: win+down
Lock Zoomed Window: win+l
Centre Mouse Pointer: win+c
Toggle Highlight Mouse Pointer: win+h
ADVANCED 3D COLOURS...
Toggle Invert Colours: win+i
Toggle Invert Window Colours: shift+win+i
Toggle Filter Colours: win+f
Toggle Window Filter Colours: shift+win+f
Switch Filter Colours: win+s
Decrease Window Brightness: win+(minus)
Increase Window Brightness: win+(plus)
Decrease Window Saturation: shift+win+(plus)
Increase Window Saturation: shift+win+(minus)
Toggle Dim Inactive Windows: win+d
Open a Terminal: ctrl+shift+t
Open the Home Directory: ctrl+shift+h
Toggle Window Maximisation: ctrl+shift+m
Toggle Full-screen Mode: ctrl+shift+f
This list of keystrokes will automatically load into Gedit when Vibuntu boots!