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Thread: Ubuntu for the blind...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Topeka, Kansas
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    Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander

    Ubuntu for the blind...

    I have a friend who uses Windows XP with JAWS to make his way around the computer. JAWS is a text to speech application that reads menus, buttons, and other stuff off so the user can hear what they have their cursor or mouse over, etc.

    I am wanting to know if there is a program out there that does this in a similar fashion that runs on Ubuntu. I think he'd be willing to give it a shot if I installed in on his laptop for him.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    3

    Re: Ubuntu for the blind...

    If you haven't been swamped with replies, Gnopernicus has a screen reader similar to Jaws. It requires the Gnome interface and at present I can not make it start on boot. The accessibility features must be turned on, (note on the screen " changes on this screen will not take effect until you logout" ) By futsing with default speech and startup settings then logout/login will usually start the speech function. It can usually be maintained on Hibernate. Sometimes it will come up from a cold boot, but not reliably as a blind person needs. This appears to be a very comprehensive effort so far as utility and documentation. But it is not trouble free for a novice or a blind person. Any thoughts

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Beans
    36
    Distro
    Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

    Re: Ubuntu for the blind...

    I am totally blind and use both operating systems. Ubuntu accessibility is still in the early stages, and getting better all the time, but I don't think it would be a good idea to switch over to it just yet. Web accessibility is minimal, but email with evolution and media players work great. I believe that Firefox 3.0 will be working soon, so stay tuned. Also, I find that Orca works best with Gnome, and it can be loaded by pressing alt+f2, then typing orca.

    Teresa

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    36
    Distro
    Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

    Re: Ubuntu for the blind...

    Well, seems I was a little hasty in my judgment, there. It looks like there are updates to both Firefox and Orca that make it work well. I haven't tried it yet myself, but it looks promising. The only thing I'm unsure of is whether I need to update it manually or whether the updates are included in Add/Remove or other update utilities. (I know just enough about command-line stuff to make me dangerous.)

    Anyhow, here's a useful link on Firefox and Orca:
    http://live.gnome.org/Orca/Firefox#details

    Teresa

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    46
    Distro
    Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

    Re: Ubuntu for the blind...

    I'm actually working on putting together a live CD for my long-time friend, who wasn't born blind, but now is. After a lot of frustration with XP and JAWS he asked about test driving my OS of choice, Ubuntu. After reading up on Linux accessibility, I decided to use the text-install as a base. Since he only uses his laptop for email, intarwebs, music and playing MUDs, then I don't see him really needing a GUI. I'm a firm believer in Occam's Razor and it's simply more efficient (once you learn the commands) to use the CLI and enable speakup->speech-dispatcher->espeak for TTS. Sort of along the lines of Oralux, but without Emacspeak. He's a friggin' brilliant guy and he'll pick everything up via the customization I've been adding and reading man pages in no time. A good place to start doing some research on how far along accessibility is and the problems users encounter would be the BLinux mailing list. There are numerous tools out there, but you really won't know how effective they are until you unplug your monitor and try to actually use them.
    Abit AN8, AMD Athlon64 3500, 2GB Crucial RAM DDR400, PNY Verto 7900 GS (256mb) PCIe, 320GB 16M SATA2
    atebyagrue

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    2

    Re: Ubuntu for the blind...

    I would be very interested in a copy of that live CD. Please could you maybe torrent the .iso? I am a linux newb and am not up to the task of making one yet.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Beans
    4

    evolution and firefox???

    I'm having difficulty using firefox, and evolution in ubuntu 7.04. When I'm browzing the webusing firefox, I'm unable to determine different elements of a page. Also in evolution, i'm having difficulty gettinng in to my inbox. I can finally see messages in the list, when I'm in my inbox, but when i press enter or ctrl-o to ppen the message, I can't read it. I can however see the headers if I'm pressing tab. Any help would be appreciated.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Beans
    47
    Distro
    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    Re: Ubuntu for the blind...

    We are also trying to get a keyboard driven distro for the blind!

    http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/vie...e503b6dd35f63b

    Any help is requested especially from those who have brailler terminals.

    Best

    David Ring

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Beans
    46
    Distro
    Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

    Re: Ubuntu for the blind...

    Still working on the live cd version, but I threw together a quick how to on a TTS text-only install of 6.10 here:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=634272
    Abit AN8, AMD Athlon64 3500, 2GB Crucial RAM DDR400, PNY Verto 7900 GS (256mb) PCIe, 320GB 16M SATA2
    atebyagrue

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Beans
    67

    Re: Ubuntu for the blind...

    I am happy to announce the release of Vibuntu 1.0 (aka Vinux) a remaster of the 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.

    The type of magnification on offer depends upon whether you downloaded the 2D or 3D version of Vibuntu. The 2D version only offers basic options but will run on any computer, while the 3D version offers advanced features but requires a powerful 3D graphics card. If you are in any doubt as to which version is best for you or do not require magnification at all I recommend you download the safer 2D version. Vibuntu is available from the following URL's:

    http://www.rnc.ac.uk/mct/linux/vibun...ntu-2D-1.0.zip

    http://www.rnc.ac.uk/mct/linux/vibun...ntu-3D-1.0.zip

    Inside the zip file you will find iso image and a text file containing the md5sum of the iso image (not the zip file).

    You can use Vibuntu as a live CD, a portable operating system on a USB memory stick* 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 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 incase 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.

    (*Using Unetbootin)

    I would of course appreciate any feedback on Vibuntu. What do you think of the name? Is it corny enough? Would Vinux be better? Post any feedback good or bad on this thread.


    Enjoy yourself,

    drbongo

    P.S. 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 keystrokes as I have customised them to make them easier to remember!

    ORCA...

    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

    This list of keystrokes will automatically load into Gedit when Vibuntu boots!

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