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Date:      Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:23:32 +0200
From:      Polytropon <>
Subject:   Re: FreeBSD and accessibility
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <>

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On Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:08:00 -0400, Littlefield, Tyler wrote:
> Hello all:
> I've looked into this before, but I'm really unsure how to proceed. I am 
> somewhat new to BSD, having used it on a server already. I have a lenovo 
> thinkpad from my school, which would be awesome for running BSD on a 
> separate partition. Problem is, I am blind and the installer is not 
> accessible.

Do you have a Braille readout? Text screens should be
perfectly readable (either by Braille tactile readout
or by synth voice), at least it has been 25 years ago...

I've been using such systems in the past. I'm not
blind, but highly interested in barrier-free (!) access
to computer technology. The systems I've been examining
had sliders to select the screen row (1 or 2 out of 25)
and then "print" those on a Braille line located infront
of the keyboard. This worked without software (!!!) for
every text-mode program under any operating system. In
addition, a synthetic voice could be requested for the
selected line.

Today's PCs are too modern to allow this. :-(

FreeBSD's text mode installer would be _perfect_ for
this kind of use, unlike graphical installers that you
can hardly map on a tactile interface. Only voice would
be usable here.

> Would someone be interested in working with me to possibly create an 
> accessible installer? I'd be happy to host them and keep them updated 
> with new BSD releases. I'm just looking for some help getting off the 
> ground and making the installer speech enabled.

The installer itself doesn't include speech synthesis,
as it would require a running sound card interface at
this early stage. The FreeBSD installation environment
is not "advanced" enough to provide this, but a live
system might be. For example, like FreeSBIE which enables
sound if possible. From such an environment, interfacing
with existing voice synthesizer software shouldn't be

> Eventually I'd really like to see PCBsd get up and running with an 
> accessible installer and orca for the window system, but I'm unsure as 
> of right now what all Orca supports and how hard that would be.

Yes, PC-BSD with its graphical installer could also be
a good starting point, as they run X during installation.
Loading sound card drivers and adding some synthesizer
to the dialog screens could be possible.

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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