Re: [orca-list] Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm (not) a man of wealth and taste!

One of the biggest problems I feel which new users have to face is the audio issues. Ubuntu has gone down the route of using pulseaudio, which may be good enough for someone who uses audio for music, internet radio, etc (essentially are only sometimes using audio and possibly an audio failure is unimportant), but I feel pulseaudio does not do it for someone who is continually using audio (eg. a blind user using speech output). These issues range from audio mixing (we need speech and music or other audio to come through, where as I imagine the typical computer use of audio normally is one sound at a time, could you listen to music on your computer and internet radio at the same time?), latency (for speech a slight delay on output for every orca announcement really impacts on how fast I do things where as a slight delay when listening to music doesn't make a huge difference) and stability (although I don't have experience of pulseaudio I have heard some complain about it, if I loose audio I loose speech output and if I am using speech only then I have no way to access the system to find out why I have no speech).

People on this list have described how to configure ubuntu for ALSA as audio system, and this is the direction I would go, ALSA supports software audio mixing, responds quickly (I don't have figures) and is implemented as a set of kernel drivers and system libraries (no userspace daemon process which can die). Where a sound daemon is needed (eg. gnome system sounds) then ESD with ALSA output can be used (this is what I am doing here).

As for your question regarding applications which are run with greater permissions, this can be solved by creating ~/.obitrc files, I believe the Orca wiki does describe what to do.

In a way I feel OpenSolaris does fit this (solves the two main problems I have discussed), but the lack of openoffice on the LiveCD does make it very much something you would want to install rather than use as a LiveCD. Also the number of sound cards OpenSolaris supports by default is quite low so could pose issues there for being a generally blind friendly disto. This issue of what to include on a LiveCD is one of the most difficult questions for those creating LiveCDs, do you want it as a LiveCD or a installable disto? I mean should applications like OpenOffice be on there or should it be excluded to make space for something to make it work in more situations (eg. support more hardware)?

Michael Whapples

On 23/12/42 20:59, Anthony Sales wrote:
Greetings earthlings!
My name is Tony Sales and I currently work as the ICT Development Officer at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford. I have recently released (in the loosest possible sense of the word) a customised version of Ubuntu called Vibuntu (or Vinux - can't decide!) which is aimed at visually impaired users. It is still very early days, but I decided to make it available straight-away so that I could collect feedback, suggestions and advice from interested parties rather than keep it hidden away until it is finished (alledgedly).
My vision (or lack of it) is to produce an easy to use fully accessible version of Ubuntu, that just works out of the box for VI users, and still has all the glitz and glamour of Ubuntu for sighted users. In other words I am not trying to create a distro which will only be used by visually impaired users, but a generic distro that can be used by anybody to do the everyday kind of things people want to do like browse the internet, listen to music, send e-mails etc. For example so it could be used in schools, colleges and homes by those of us who can't afford or just don't want to pay through the nose for expensive proprietary solutions (no names mentioned).
At the moment I am using remastersys to modify an installed system and create a distribution with a pre-configured user account, overcoming obstacles as I find them. The first issue to deal with is the problem of Orca not wanting to read out Ubiquity (or any other application opened with root permissions). I could do this by enabling a root user account for installation and admin tasks, but because of the security risks this would cause I am working on simple bash script that stops orca, restarts it in --no-setup mode, runs the app (e.g. Ubiquity) and then restarts the original Orca session. I already have a working script but it needs a few tweaks so that it is invisible as possible to the user. However, someone mentioned that this could be attained by simply editing one of the orca config files. If anyone can shed any light on this or other tweaks/tips I would be happy to include them in future versions of Vibuntu, so other people don't have to.
I want to try and keep to the original Ubuntu releases as closely as possible, ideally not adding anything that isn't included on the official release unless absolutely necessary, and only then if it is open-source GPL licenced (unless permission is granted  by the developers). In a perfect world Ubuntu would already be fully accessible to VI users and I wouldn't have to do this, I live in hope! The only app I have added so far is remastersys, which is absolutely essential at the moment.  I am also very keen on trying to keep the iso below 702Mb so it fits on a CD, I don't really want to produce a bloated distro full of everything under the sun. I want to provide the basics and let people add extra apps and codecs etc themselves.
I would be happy to receive any feedback, suggestions, criticisms, abuse, law suits  and/or death threats (preferably in that order) about Vibuntu and what I am trying to acheive!
Tony Sales (aka drbongo)

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