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Introduction to Unix and Linux accessibility

Hello. I'd like to introduce Linux accessibility to this section of the AFB forums, since I've seen questions here about linux and accessibility/screen readers. Most of what I've seen are old out of date nonpractical solutions.

Gnome is one of the graphical desktops on the Unix and Linux platform. This desktop environment provides access to hundreds of graphical applications using assistive technology. One of which is a python based scriptable screen reader known as Orca. This is a new screen reader but I have followed it through months of development and it is 100% useful. The orca screen reader provides access to a wide variety of applications, those of which who has the ATSPI infristructure in it. Some of these programs include Gaim, the internet gnome messenger, Open Office, an open source office sweet, and the Bash command line, but this is just a few major selections to the vast number of programs orca can work with. Orca can read menus, dialogues, icons, etc.

Orca is much different from Gnopernicus, which is the old screen reader for the gnome desktop because Orca can be scripted. This simply means that the end user, if they know python, can create their own custome scripts to make a specific application work better. This works in the same fashion as JAWS for windows and the scripts that work for that. You may read up on Orca at .

What are my own personal experiences with Orca? Over the passed nine months I have followed orca and its team of developers. I must say, running Ubuntu 6.06 dapper drake, nothing is better. Every application that comes on the disk is 100% useful, and accessible. If you are looking to switch to linux for whatever reason, then Ubuntu is my personal opinion of choice that you should go with. I have tried many distributions such as Suse, fedora, and redhat. While Fedora is very accessible, Ubuntu is lightweight and has an accessible installer. Best of all, it's a live CD so you can try out orca before you install Ubuntu! This feature is only found on the Edgy live CD which hasn't officially been released though if you'd like to download the test CD with gnome version 2.16 you may. Performance of orca would be better if you installed it. If you'd like to download orca's source and compile it yourself, visit the gnome ftp site at and select the latest version there.

More information about installing orca, and setting up a new Ubuntu Linux computer can be found at my own site, found at

If there are any questions, email me at or post here so other users can find those questions and answers.


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Re:Introduction to Unix and Linux accessibility

Can you please write more blog entries on this subject, its a request, because after reading your blog I am highly interested in learning more.

Wallace Keynes
My Blog:

Re:Introduction to Unix and Linux accessibility

Can you please write more blog entries on this subject, its a request, because after reading your blog I am highly interested in learning more.

Wallace Keynes
My Blog:" rel=dofollow>copy xbox 360 games|" rel=dofollow>copy wii games|

Re:Introduction to Unix and Linux accessibility

Hello there.


I have found Knoppix to be quite accessible. It is pretty lightweight and very fast when run as a LiveCD or LLiveUsB system.

You would want to look at the ADRIANE Knoppix system as it is specifically catered to blind users.

Re:Introduction to Unix and Linux accessibility

good day. an affordable computer was recently launched here in the philippines by, and it would provide most impoverished filipinos here in the philippines access to information via computers. i am totally blind, and need a small and fast linux os live cd that is equipped with a powerful screen reader such as the one i use for my windows-based machine, jaws. the linux distros that are available that are equipped with screen readers are rather large, either live cd or otherwise, and it would defeat the purpose of the affordable computers released by since it does not make use of expensive hard disks anymore. i just hope some group would develop a puppy linux live cd distro that is equipped with word processors, web browsers, multimedia tools, and all necessary tools that are accessible to the screen reader that the puppy linux live cd distro is also equipped with. this would greatly help us blind young and old filipinos since there are lots of telecommuting copywriting jobs that are available on the internet, and i for one am a writer for an italy-based company, as well as a philippine-based one. i am also a part of an organization that aims to alleviate the present living conditions of disabled people in my country, and am trying to offer equal access to the tools that i use. we disabled people in the philippines dream big, you know, for we have nothing to lose, anyway. thanks.

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