My first Medium article: Linux Accessibility: an unmaintained mess: https://medium.com/@r.d.t.prater/linux-accessibility-an-unmaintained-mess-8fbf9decaf8a

@devinprater Very good article. I'm blind. Started using Debian in 1996, redirecting the raw output of the terminal to the serial port and plugging in a hardware voice synthesizer. It was not good, but I hoped it would get better. Then we got Gnopernicus, and Orca, and every time GTK changed, like when they started using dbus instead of CORBA, it was a complete mess. Things stopped working, or got unbearably slow. It's 2022 and we're still here and I only use linux via ssh now.

@devinprater I think you would be fine with bitlbee-libpurple and running Emacs with Emacspeak and ERC (Emacs’ default IRC client) against that. Bitlbee it’s an IRC daemon with proxies your accounts made in that server to another services. The “-libpurple” option (available on most GNU/Linuxes and BSD’s) add any plugin Pidgin would support, for example, the ones for Telegram or Slack. Once you install bitlbee-libpurple and, for example, connect with Emacs’ ERC to localhost and the usual IRC port, 6667, join the “&bitlbee” channel (it’s not a typo) channel on the Bitlbee server and type in “help” to follow the instructions. It’s cumbersome at first, but once you create some accounts and save them, the further connections from ERC will autoconnect to anything. I can help you with that in no time.

@anthk I'm back to Windows now, I'm done with Linux for a very long time. But thanks for the offer.


At least you can install Emacs on Windows too. I don’t know if the installer comes with the GNU coreutils and OpenSSL, I may have to ask.

This look like a perfect task for a distro like Guix System, where there exist a setup to use Emacs as your whole window manager and environment.

I think that would be better than any other distro because once you set a declarative configuration for Guix, all the accesibility settings (and everything else) are configured in the spot with a single command. And of course Emacspeak controlling the whole environment with emacs-exwm (the window manager) up to the point to describe the GTK/QT inputs and everything it would make the most accesible environment ever.

@anthk Wouldn't that be nice lol. All that has to be hooked together, especially Emacspeak reading GTK.

@devinprater Exwm makes your windows get managed by Emacs as if they were Emacs buffers. I see the Emacspeak author did a module for Stump window manager, but obviously integrating it with Exwm would make an all powerful interface, because of obvious reasons. Managing all your windows and input dialogs from within Emacs would be peace of cake to be handled by Emacspeak. Exwm-xim exports any input method from Emacs to any QT/GTK/X application. On reading the content, that would be more difficult, but I guess some module compatible with AT-Spi will be written. By the way, the Guix System distro I notices has an integrated “graphical” package manager on Emacs, so anything can be installed from within. Configuring it it’s a different issue, as the system configuration and the packages are defined on a Scheme file (/etc/config.scm), but I guess it’s just a matter of time that someone writtes a Guix config manager in Elisp to set the most common options on “creating” a system configuration, such as the running services, default users and such. I mean, you define your system packages as inmutable, for example a desktop environment, network services and such and everything else can be installed as an user without privileges). As Guix it’s a system defined by LISP files, setting up that blind-integrated “desktop” environment with exwm+emacspeak would make a huge boost for accesibility, as they are LISP hackers used to Scheme and Elisp like nothing. And for Emacs modules themselves, of course. Emacs’ Org-mode with spreadsheets with org-table, todo, Libreoffice imports and exports, caldav/calendar support with org-agenda and everything managable from Emacspeak? It must be done. Emacs should make that much more accesible by design. There are Emacspeak modes for Emms, for Telegram, and for a lot off environments. Everything it’s text mode and composable. If not, Emacs’ OCR modules should work anywhere. But first, Emacs-exwm and Emacspeak should be integrated as a minimum.


@devinprater @daniel

@Jill_linuxgirl and @MichaelTunnell I think this topic is essential to be discussed frequently and should be brought up especially when you are discussing with Fedora, Manjaro, and OpenSuse people.

Linux community is know to be "inclusive" and "welcoming", but we are closing our eyes to accessibility (no pun intended).

@erikdubois I wonder if Arco has a screen reader enabled during the installation.

We should all read this article @devinprater wrote.

Thank you @MichaelTunnell for remembering to discuss this in the episode 278 when discussing the new release with @mattdm . I kinda agree that there should be an organization and funding entity to push this harder, but I think Fedora **is** in the position to push Gnome people to allocate more man-hour to Orca. At the moment Joanmarie Diggs is the only dev who kindly and actively working on this with average commit/day: 1.1



@Mehrad @MichaelTunnell @mattdm @Jill_linuxgirl I did get in contact with the Fedora project manager, and he has put me in contact with someone that works on the diversity team there so hopefully things will improve.

@Mehrad @MichaelTunnell @mattdm @Jill_linuxgirl Also I'm just starting listening to that episode of DLN. Thank goodness for Pocket cast.