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Operating Systems Linux

The State of Linux Accessibility 138

Dog's_Breakfast writes "This week's edition of DistroWatch Weekly News features a unique story entitled 'Linux Accessibility — What is it and Why Does It Matter?' The article was written by Robert Cole, a blind person with a computer science degree. Mr Cole points out that Linux offers an excellent set of free tools for seeing-impaired users. Putting together a similar set of tools on Windows would cost at least US$600, about double what a retail copy of Windows itself costs."
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The State of Linux Accessibility

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  • From the article... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bigredradio ( 631970 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @11:17AM (#40064945) Homepage Journal

    When you boot up an Ubuntu live CD or USB drive, press CTRL+S when you hear a drum sound. This will start the Orca screen reader, and you can either try Ubuntu using Orca or install Ubuntu with your eyes closed; it's entirely your choice. I was able to do a complete installation (including partitioning my drives) without having to look at my screen!

    Didn't know about this option. I have to say that this is pretty cool.

  • Orca good? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Beetle B. ( 516615 ) <> on Monday May 21, 2012 @11:29AM (#40065113)

    I used to work with a blind programmer. He is a Linux geek. Every year or two he tries the screen readers in Linux, and says they all suck compared to Jaws in Windows (including Orca).

    So he does all his email, web browsing, etc in Windows, as well as as much programming as he can get away with. For him Linux has been relegated to a toy he plays with once in a while.

  • Re:Does it matter? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @11:33AM (#40065159) Homepage

    And I'll add that this is important because, as a sighted developer who once worked on a website specifically intended for blind users, I know it's ridiculously easy to make really bad assumptions about what blind people want. That design with a list of options arranged to be read first is great for a front page, but gets really annoying after it's read on every page....

    Sighted people suck.

  • Re:Which side is up? (Score:5, Informative)

    by michaelwigle ( 822387 ) <> on Monday May 21, 2012 @11:46AM (#40065359) Homepage
    Next time you look at a CD check out the spindle hole. Around the edge on one side it is raised. It's hard to see but you can feel it. The raised ridge always goes down.
  • Re:Fingerprints (Score:4, Informative)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @01:58PM (#40067213) Homepage Journal

    Or rely on the fact that a sticker feels different from the plastic on the side with the data.

    Do you know of any easy way to rely on that without getting fingerprints all over the data side?

    Sure! Licking it will not leave a fingerprint!

    As others have said, CDs and DVDs already have a built-in feature for blind people and people changing discs in the dark. The side that goes towards the laser (usually "down") has a ridge near the hub. It's prominent enough that you can easily feel it through a paper sleeve (and if you have a jewel box, you should already have it the right side up, but you can still feel for it if in doubt).

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson