Re: Linux, was: Beware! Microsoft Plans to Push Windows 10 On Even More Windows 7 and 8 Systems


Everything you hav written here has been discussed on the Orca mailing
list and even many of the users there have brought up much of what you
have here.

Yes, Kendell and Kyle seem to be good guys and they always seem to be
eager to help. Sometimes they express their frustration with people
who are intimidated by the Linux operating system and those who seem
to be too lazy to read, experiment and learn.

As for which distributions are the most accessible, someone recently
asked about that on the Orca list. The general consensus seems to be
that Ubuntu 14 LTS, Sonar and Trisquel are the most accessible. But
like you, they urge people to read and experiment with different
distros as everyone has their own personal preferences.

One of the best things I can say about Vinux is that I was able to
install it myself pretty easily. I can't say that about Windows.
When your computer crashes and you can't get an IT geek to fix it for
you, being able to install an operating system yourself is a life
saver! I'd be curious to know how well the talking Windows installers
I've read about work.

VictorOn 11/5/15, Carlos <> wrote:

Well said. Clonezilla,
one of the more useful pieces of Linux software in my opinion, uses
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeremy" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, November 05, 2015 6:28 AM
Subject: Linux, was: [TechTalk] Beware! Microsoft Plans to Push Windows 10
On Even More Windows 7 and 8 Systems

While I'm certainly no expert on using Linux, here are a few thoughts,
having played with a few different distributions. I'll try to go over my
own personal issues with using both the command line driven versions and
ones that are based more on using something like gnome/mate, a windows
type equivalent.

First, an answer to your question here. Yes, there are quite a few
different applications that are used within the command line that are able

to mimic a graphical interface, however, these applications tend to be
pretty limited in what information they are able to show or have
interfaces that are more menu driven, verses clicking on icons and alike.

There may be other types of applications that support these types of
interfaces, but the one I know of and see used most often is called,
NCurses. For the most part, if you use an application that can or does use

NCurses as part of its interface, it's going to work pretty well, you just

gotta make sure that Speakup is able to keep track of things like the
hightlight placement, weather or not an option has an asterisk which can
indicate if an option is checked or unchecked, etc. You've also got
applications that can split information into separate parts of the screen,

ones like file managers, which can really throw speakup for a loop too.
Speakup, btw, is the screenreader used within the console.

So, command line and Graphical. First, in terms of overall accessibility,

I'd say that using the command line wins out, but it's worth keeping in
mind the limitations of applications that are used there. These
limitations are mostly do to having little to no support for newer
technology that we are used to using, such as Graphical information that's

displayed inside a browser or in other, hopefully visual pleasing UIs. I'm

certainly not saying that the cli can't be used at all in some of these
cases, but you often find that people find it necessary to temporarily
move over to an x-windows session in order to accomplish tasks that can
only be done there.

The second thing with using the cli and one that I find to be a bit more
daunting is having to remember the syntax used for some of the different
commands. Along side this are the configuration files that support those
programs and hopefully, nice and concise documentation that helps in
setting those config files up. You take an application like SSH, both
client and server, they are extremely well documented, whereas setting up

email from the cli is a totally different story. hehe

This is where it really helps to have a community driven source of
documentation to assist in understanding how to get some of these things
up and going. Arch, by the way, has probably one of the best Wikis that
cover an amazing amount of neat and crazy stuff from the command line.

As for using an environment that's similar to windows, Linux offers quite

the number of program suites that can give you pretty much anything you
could ever hope to find on any windows machine. You've got ones that are
really light weight that have low requirements for memory and space, great

for a netbook and ones that are amazingly huge that are what you'd expect

from using Windows7 and upwards. One major problem that we have though, is

not many of these are accessible, even in the slightest. From what I know,

we've got two supported environments that are going to work with ORCA, the

screenreader that's used in gnome. Since these two suites, gnome and mate

are based on gnome, there ya go.

Even though Orca has really come a long way in terms of what it can
support, it's the fact that a lot of the applications that are written for

gnome aren't written n such a way as to make them able to work well with a

screenreader. You tend to see better support in things like firefox, but I

think it's just a matter of both the screenreader and supporting
accessibility frameworks need more love. There's a lot that I don't know
about the software aspect, but from what I've been told, it's a lot easier

to write an application that works with something like JFW verses
something that will play nice with Orca in gnome, do to the ability to use

things like MSAA in a windows program. From what I gather, either A11Y
needs to be made to work with a broader range of environments, or more
Devs need to hop on board and start supporting it better, I'm not sure

Either way, just from my tinkering around, I've noticed that Orca either
works really well inside an application or set of applications, or not
really that well at all. For those areas where you start having issues
with it, you normally need to resort to these workarounds, which sometimes

aren't really documented very well. Some of these problems are pretty
small, such as not having speech feedback from Orca when you're trying to

log into a Mate desktop, but others can be a little weirder to figure out,

such as needing to enable accessibility support in the desktops so Orca
can access applications there better. While I'm not saying that Linux
can't be used as an alternative to a Windows system, I think that one of
the biggest problems it has is when something breaks, most users can't be

bothered, have the time or knowhow to get it back to a working state. It
sometimes also requires that the user have a bit more knowledge to set up

things like networking, most especially wireless, but that's more specific

to using the command line.

Linux has different areas that it can fill very well, these areas are
where the different distributions really shine. You have distros that work

great as a server, meaning that the Devs for that distribution focus more

on security, holding back a little on updating the applications like
Debian/centos, whereas others want to push out the latest and greatest,
which are wonderful for support of the latest hardware, like Arch.
Visually, this isn't always a huge problem, especially if you wanted to
run a desktop on a Debian machine, but because the applications in that
specific version may not be up to date, including Orca, you are likely to

see some pretty big differences in accessibility. You also have developers

for some of the distributions that don't really bother with adding, or
helping to add, the support for Orca and its parts into their versions of

what ever environment they may be running, which make it really difficult

to get those systems up and going too.

In a perfect environment, we'd have access to a screenreader in both
states, both in the console and when we need it, gnome or mate, but this
is also where things can be kind of difficult to accomplish. Do to
Gnome/Orca/speech-dispatcher needing to use Pulse Audio, which is the
application that controls sound there, and Speakup, Espeakup and Espeak
using mainly Alsa in the console, the two normally don't seem to play very

nice together at all. this ends up in needing to get Orca working first,
then starting your speech in the console. Others even try to disable Pulse

or compile the appropriate parts of the different programs to use one
sound architecture over the other, but I'm not sure which one actually
works the best.

You have some really wonderful people working with the different
accessible versions, but in a lot of cases, they are seriously bogged down

with the work that needs to be done or lack some of the technical know how

to understand some of the issues that may pop up. Whereas NVDA on the
other hand, not only through its Devs but also its users, have a lot more

people poking at it and figuring out what could possibly go wrong and how

to get those issues fixed quicker. I think it was Rob that also pointed
out earlier, it's often that some of the more advanced users of Linux may

have slightly higher expectations of someone who's coming to Linux for the

first time, so that first timer may be left floundering around a bit,
trying to figure out where to start off or what to do. This certainly
isn't always true, but my biggest piece of advice for anyone wanting to
learn how to use it would be to read, read, read! Read anything you can
about what ever Distribution interests you, join any mailing lists that
deal with that particular version and then ask questions. May not hurt to

thicken up the skin a tad, especially when dealing with those lovely
individuals who tend to be a bit more abrasive and if you really want a
fun and easy testbed for playing with a Linux machine from within Windows,

use VMWare player, it's free. One email list that I really like is the one

for Sonar, it's definitely worth checking out and asking questions there
too. The two main people that work on it, Kendell and Kyle have always
been helpful and seem to be pretty awesome dudes.

Ah, the perks of meds that leave you wired like an 8 day clock, at 3 in
the morning. GRRRR!
Hopefully my extremely long-winded email wasn't too much. rofllmao
Take care.
On 11/4/2015 3:22 PM, Gene wrote:
But in command based Linux, wouldn't programs with graphical user
interfaces still show and have to be worked with in that way? I would
think that working with Linux in the command line wouldn't accomplish
much if my guess is correct that most programs these days use a GUI.

I recall that in DOS 6.22, utilities such as Scandisk and Defrag mimiked

Windows programs even though they ran in DOS.

----- Original Message -----

From: Carlos
Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 2015 3:05 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Beware! Microsoft Plans to Push Windows 10 On
Even More Windows 7 and 8 Systems

Actually, many newer Linux distributions include a graphical desktop
interface so it is similar to working in Windows. Although the Linux
is still a command line based operating system so in that respect it
be considered similar to DOS. However, there are also still quite a few
command line only Linux distributions as well.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Pamela Dominguez" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 2015 3:48 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Beware! Microsoft Plans to Push Windows 10 On
More Windows 7 and 8 Systems

I know blind people who have used it for a long time. One person says
uses it because it's more like dos, and she doesn't like windows. pam.

-----Original Message-----
From: Victor
Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 2015 8:21 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Beware! Microsoft Plans to Push Windows 10 On
More Windows 7 and 8 Systems

If you ever get fed up with Windows, or you can't get your computer
fixed, there's always Linux. Linux is becoming more accessible all
the time. It's a viable, free option for the blind now.

VictorOn 10/31/15, Walt Smith <> wrote:
Well, they *do* disguise it and their tactics are something less than
ethical here. If you don't manually verify every update you put on
system, you're extremely likely to install Windows 10 without ever
knowing you're doing it unless you're paying very close attention. I
from experience.


From: Carlos []
Sent: Friday, October 30, 2015 7:21 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Beware! Microsoft Plans to Push Windows 10 On
More Windows 7 and 8 Systems

LOL I seriously doubt that Microsoft would attempt to hide or disguise
update. That would be pushing it.

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