References in this section are taken directly from the Linux Software map which can be found in all standard places for Linux documentation and which lists almost all of the software available for Linux.
Emacspeak is the software side of a speech interface to Linux. Any
other character based program, such as a WWW browser, or
or another editor can potentially be used within
main difference between it and normal screen reader software for such
operating systems as DOS is that it also has a load more extra
features. It is based in the emacs text editor.
A text editor is generally just a program which allows you to change the contents of a file, for example, adding new information to a letter. Emacs is in fact far beyond a normal text editor, and so this package is much more useful than you might imagine. You can run any other program from within emacs, getting any output it generates to appear in the emacs terminal emulator.
The reason that emacs is a better environment for Emacspeak is that it can can understand the layout of the screen and can intelligently interpret the meaning of, for example, a calendar, which would just be a messy array of numbers otherwise. The originator of the package manages to look after his own Linux machine entirely, doing all of the administration from within emacs. He also uses it to control a wide variety of other machines and software directly from that machine.
Emacspeak is included within the Debian Linux distribution and is included as contributed software within the Slakware distribution. This means that it is available on many of the CDROM distributions of Linux. By the time this is published, the version included should be 5 or better, but at present I only have version 4 available for examination.
Begin3 Title: emacspeak - a speech output interface to Emacs Version: 4.0 Entered-date: 30MAY96 Description: Emacspeak is the first full-fledged speech output system that will allow someone who cannot see to work directly on a UNIX system. (Until now, the only option available to visually impaired users has been to use a talking PC as a terminal.) Emacspeak is built on top of Emacs. Once you start emacs with emacspeak loaded, you get spoken feedback for everything you do. Your mileage will vary depending on how well you can use Emacs. There is nothing that you cannot do inside Emacs:-) Keywords: handicap access visually impaired blind speech emacs Author: firstname.lastname@example.org (T. V. Raman) Maintained-by: email@example.com (Jim Van Zandt) Primary-site: sunsite.unc.edu apps/sound/speech 124kB emacspeak-4.0.tgz Alternate-site: Original-site: http://www.cs.cornell.edu /pub/raman/emacspeak 123kB emacspeak.tar.gz/Info/People/raman/emacspeak/emacspeak.tar.gz Platforms: DECtalk Express or DEC Multivoice speech synthesizer, GNU FSF Emacs 19 (version 19.23 or later) and TCLX 7.3B (Extended TCL). Copying-policy: GPL End
This is a program for running a serial port Braille terminal. It has been widely tested and used, and supports a number of different kinds of hardware (see the Linux Software Map entry below).
The maintainer is, Nikhil Nair <firstname.lastname@example.org>. The other people working on it are Nicolas Pitre <email@example.com> and Stephane Doyon <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Send any comments to all of them.
The authors seem keen to get support in for more different devices, so if you have one you should consider contacting them. They will almost certainly need programming information for the device, so if you can contact your manufacturer and get that they are much more likely to be able to help you.
A brief feature list (from their README file) to get you interested
Begin3 Title: BRLTTY - Access software for Unix for a blind person using a soft Braille terminal Version: 1.0.2, 17SEP96 Entered-date: 17SEP96 Description: BRLTTY is a daemon which provides access to a Unix console for a blind person using a soft Braille display (see the README file for a full explanation). BRLTTY only works with text-mode applications. We hope that this system will be expanded to support other soft Braille displays, and possibly even other Unix-like platforms. Keywords: Braille console access visually impaired blind Author: email@example.com (Nikhil Nair) firstname.lastname@example.org (Nicolas Pitre) email@example.com (Stephane Doyon) firstname.lastname@example.org (James Bowden) Maintained-by: email@example.com (Nikhil Nair) Primary-site: sunsite.unc.edu /pub/Linux/system/Access 110kb brltty-1.0.2.tar.gz (includes the README file) 6kb brltty-1.0.2.README 1kb brltty-1.0.2.lsm Platforms: Linux (kernel 1.1.92 or later) running on a PC or DEC Alpha. Not X/graphics. Supported Braille displays (serial communication only): - Tieman B.V.: CombiBraille 25/45/85; - Alva B.V.: ABT3xx series; - Telesensory Systems Inc.: PowerBraille 40 (not 65/80), Navigator 20/40/80 (latest firmware version only?). Copying-policy: GPL End
Screen is a standard piece of software to allow many different programs to run at the same time on one terminal. It has been enhanced to support some Braille terminals (those from Telesensory) directly.
This is a speech synthesiser listed in the Linux Software Map. It doesn't apparently work well enough for use by a visually impaired person. Use hardware instead, or improve it.. a free speech synthesiser would be really really useful.
xocr is a package which implements optical character recognition for
Linux. As with
Rsynth, I don't think that this will be acceptable as
a package for use as a sole means of input by a visually impaired
person. I suspect that the algorithm used means that it will need to
be watched over by someone who can check that it is reading correctly.
I would love to be proved wrong.
xzoom is a screen magnifier, in the same vein as
but sufficiently better to be very useful to a visually impaired
person. The main disadvantages of
xzoom are that it can't magnify
under itself, that some of the key controls aren't compatible with
fvwm, the normal Linux window manager and that it's default
configuration doesn't run over a network (this can be fixed at some
expense to speed). Apart from that though, it's excellent. It does
continuous magnification which allows you to, for example, scroll a
document up and down, whilst keeping the section you are reading
magnified. Alternatively, you can move a little box around the
screen, magnifying the contents and letting you search for the area
you want to see.
xzoom is also available as an rpm from the
normal RedHat sites, making it very easy to install for people using
the rpm system (such as Redhat users).
Begin3 Title: xzoom Version: 0.1 Entered-date: Mar 30 1996 Description: xzoom can magnify (by integer value) rotate (by a multiple if 90 degrees) and mirror about the X or Y axes areas on X11 screen and display them in it's window. Keywords: X11 zoom magnify xmag Author: Itai Nahshon <firstname.lastname@example.org> Maintained-by: Itai Nahshon <email@example.com> Primary-site: sunsite.unc.edu probably in /pub/Linux/X11/xutils/xzoom-0.1.tgz Platforms: Linux+11. Support only for 8-bit depth. Tested only in Linux 1.3.* with the XSVGA 3.1.2 driver. Needs the XSHM extension. Copying-policy: Free End
nfbtrans is a multi-grade Braille translation program
distributed by the National Federation for the Blind in the U.S.A. It
is released for free in the hope that someone will improve it.
Languages covered are USA English, UK English, Spanish, Russian,
Esperanto, German, Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Greek, though others
could be added just by writing a translation table. Also covered are
some computer and math forms. I have managed to get it to compile
under Linux, though, not having a Braille embosser available at the
present moment I have not been able to test it.
NFBtrans is available from ftp://nfb.org/ftp/nfb/braille/nfbtrans/. After downloading it, you will have to compile it.
I have returned this patch to the maintainer of NFBtrans and he says that he has included it, so if you get a version later than 740, you probably won't have to do anything special. Just follow the instructions included in the package.
unzip -L NFBTR740.ZIP #or whatever filename you have mv makefile Makefile
Next save the following to a file (e.g.
*** nfbpatch.c.orig Tue Mar 12 11:37:28 1996 --- nfbpatch.c Tue Mar 12 11:37:06 1996 *************** *** 185,190 **** --- 185,193 ---- return (finfo.st_size); } /* filelength */ + #ifndef linux + /* pretty safe to assume all linux has usleep I think ?? this should be + done properly anyway */ #ifdef SYSVR4 void usleep(usec) int usec; *************** *** 195,200 **** --- 198,204 ---- UKP } /* usleep */ #endif + #endif void beep(count) int count;
patch < patch-file
and the program should compile.
UnWindows is a package of access utilities for X which provides many useful facilities for the visually impaired (not blind). It includes a screen magnifier and other customised utilities to help locate the pointer. UnWindows can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.cs.rpi.edu/pub/unwindows.
As it comes by default, the package will not work on Linux because it relies on special features of Suns. However, some of the utilities do work and I have managed to port most of the rest so this package may be interesting to some people. My port will either be incorporated back into the original or will be available in the BLINUX archives (see WWW references). The remaining utility which doesn't yet work is the configuration utility.
In my version the programs, instead of generating sounds themselves, just call another program. The other program could for example be
Which would make the
xboing ouch noise, for example it could do
this as the pointer hit the left edge of the screen.
dynamag is a screen magnification program. please see the
section on Screen magnification (
magnification). This program worked in the default
coloreyes makes it easy to find the pointer (mouse) location.
It consists of a pair of eyes which always look in the direction of
the pointer (like xeyes) and change color depending on how far away
the mouse is (unlike xeyes). This doesn't work in the default
distribution, but the test version, at the same location, seems to
border is a program which detects when the pointer (mouse) has
moved to the edge of the screen and makes a sound according to which
edge of the screen has been approached. The version which is
available uses a SUN specific sound system. I have now changed this
so that instead of that, it just runs a command, which could be any
Linux sound program.
The window manager is a special program which controls the location
of all of the other windows (programs) displayed on the X screen.
un-twm is a special version which will make a sound as the pointer
enters different windows. The sound will depend on what window has
been entered. The distributed version doesn't work on linux because,
border it relies on SUN audio facilities. Again I already
have a special version which will be avaliable by the time you read