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Old 01-20-2004, 05:01 PM   #1
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Linux for blind user

How can any Linux distribution be used by blind or low vision users?
Is there a distro already packaged for accessibility to blind people.
Which software acts as a screen reader, screen magnifier, optical character recognition when scanning books.
Please help me from giving more money to Bill Gates, as he now wants to "help" blind and low vision people in Canada.
Old 01-20-2004, 05:22 PM   #2
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I haven't had any particular need to use that feature but you could check this site.....

SystemRescueCd is available for blind people. Now, the linux speakup version 1.5 screen reader is working well, and the speakup keymap is installed. This feature was tested by Gregory Nowak.
Old 01-20-2004, 06:24 PM   #3
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There is a distro named Blinux.


Old 01-20-2004, 07:48 PM   #4
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Location: Budapest, Hungary
Distribution: SuSE 6.4-11.3, Dsl linux, FreeBSD 4.3-6.2, Mandrake 8.2, Redhat, UHU, Debian Etch
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There is also a Croatian Linux project aimed at helping the blind to use the computer:

I think they also have a reader by now, and it supports English, too.
Never had a closer look at it, however; just read about the project in a newspaper some days ago, and now I found their website.
I hope this helps.
Old 02-26-2004, 07:30 AM   #5
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blind user

A big thankyou for the information that you have supplied to enable a blind person to use Linux (who is my wife). Iam a newby and have not as yet converted to Linux. I am hoping to use SUSE or Debian.

Old 02-26-2004, 09:12 AM   #6
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Tucson, AZ
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If you want to make a system more accessible instead of using a whole other distro, here's some steps I've found useful:

1. Setup X to have a virtual resolution higher than the one you're actually using (either via "Virtual" or by defining multiple res's and then using Ctrl+Alt+(+/-) to switch down). This allows a "zooming" effect, which I've seen visually impaired people use specialty software for on Win, whereas in Linux it's a built-in feature of XFree86!
2. Get a hi-res icon set (i.e 128x128).
3. Use high contrast themes for icons, colors, etc.
4. Increase font sizes for everything

All of that is pretty simple to setup through your preferred DE/WM. In addition there's also seperate applications like kmag, xmag, etc. for further screen magnification (which makes it absolutely ridiculous if you already have X setup like mentioned above).

A great text-to-speech prog is festival. It's not the most intuitive thing to configure, and I'm not sure about how well integrated you could make it with, say, a browser, but it seems like the best (if not only) text-to-speech software for Linux. I know there's at least a plugin for Emacs (and since you can do just about anything through Emacs...).

As for character recognition, I'm not sure at all. I'd have to look into it, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's software out there for it. You could always find a copy of the book through IRC (if you already own a copy, it's Fair Use rights) in plain text, and then have festival read it, if that's what you're trying to ultimately accomplish anyhow. It's a pretty simple process, you can simply use cat on the command line like so "festival <textfile> | festival --tts"

Anyhow, just some ideas. Hope it works out :-)


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