Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Visually impaired can use linux!

Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to see. Not everyone has that gift. If you do not have that gift, does not mean you should be limited in using computers. Traditionally you had to let someone install linux for you, Several Linux distros now allow even the seeing and or hearing impaired to install and use Linux. As a test for myself, I took the Debian linux distro to see if I could install and use it blindfolded. As many times as I have done the text install of Linux, I did not do very well with the audio commanded install of Debian Linux (www.debian.org).  I am sure they have improved it. Then again they never advertized it as a distro for the blind. (You use the speech synthesis option).  Later you might need to install Orca if you want to use the gui.

But then you can use the distros meant to be used for the handicapped  such as  Arch (http://talkingarch.tk/). They even have an audio not video tutorial.  You could also use Vinux  (vinuxproject.org/) or Sonar (http://sonargnulinux.com/). Sonar is recommended by the TLLTS podcast team.  

There are some excellent text based utilities to start of with before you venture into the gui.

Some of my favorite programs are:
alsa sound modules – music and to support speech programs (and voice recording)
Twidge – twitter client
links2 – internet browser
ps2ascii – convert postscript files to text files.
bashpodder – audio podcast collector
alpine sendEmail – email client tools
irssi – interrelay chat
centerim – instant messaging client
vim can be used as and editor or word processor, there are many others.
antiword – for dealing with proprietary word procesing formats.
screen – allows you to easily switch remote sessions
ledger – accounting program
curl wget – web page and file extracting tools
bash – the built in programming language that can be used with awk, sed, sort tr figlet (make your own database or game programs as well as other tools).
ImageMagick suite – manipulate graphics
cadubi tetradraw – ascii drawing programs
opensched – schedule formater.
hnb – notetaking and outlining
moc mplayer aplay ffmpeg – audio tools and players.
nget newbueter – newsreader
pal – calendar/planner program
cdrecord – burn cd’s and back up computer.
ssh and other tools. – network administration/file amangement
espeak festival – voice synthesis (great for having your computer read outloud documents) Who needs a Kindle?
wyrd - calendaring program.

The bottom line is that you can do word processing. spreadsheets. database, email, listen to podcasts or even hear documents spoken. Who could ask for more?  Happy computing.

1 comment:

  1. There is also wordgrinder (minimalist word processor and conversion tool compatible with odt) and sc (simple spreadsheet calculator) for simple office tasks.