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Projects in accessibility for debian.

Title: Projects in accessibility for debian.

Hi all.

What work is underway to make a comprehensive accessible installation CD of the latest debian and to provide quick and easy ways of installing access software on the system?

I was reading some notes on the web that mention a number of debian based systems customised for different purposes.  These include distros for med, children, scientists, education, desktop etc.  And accessibility was also on the list.

http://people.debian.org/~tille/debian-med/talks/paper-cdd/debian-cdd.html/.  In some ways, I think some of these are better off made as tasks in the debian installer and/or aptitude, but they are good offshoots in their own right.

However, there does not seem to be a system available for accessibility (the link from the above goes to the debian accessibility page where this mailing list is mentioned).  I did see Oralux (a version of knoppix that is customised for audio and for accessibility).

However, this is a LIVE CD, not really a debian installation CD.

Is there any work under way to produce a full distribution of debian, with installation as well as package management, with speech all the way?  I know there are access floppies, but there are no installation CDs with speakup etc. that install a new kernel 2.6 etc.

I have built a 2.6.9 kernel from make-kpkg with speakup (from cvs) that I have installed.  This was based on the debian kernel sources 2.6.9 and the knoppix CD kernel config so as to support most hardware etc, then patched with speakup.  This seems to work ok, but I think it would be valuable for debian to have a 2.6.9 kernel with speakup on an access cd (netinst or cd number 1 of the full set).

Basically all that is needed then is a category in the aptitude package called "accessibility" which contains all of the access software packages in debian, such as emacspeak, emacs apps that are enabled in emacspeak (such as w3m, vm, etc).  speakup patches, yasr, gnopernicus, other gnome apps, brltty etc. etc.  This makes sense because unless you are in need of access software, you would not really go looking for it, but when you go looking for it, there are no places where you can find a comprahensive list ready to install.  The aptitude system now provides that ease of installation, so categorisation of this kind would make sense.  This could even be by way of a "task" in the installer.

With this in mind, an installation CD, based on CD 1 and the netinst CD of debian sarge, could be developed which contains all of the packages and an easy way to install them (perhaps in the installation task selection?).  A Live cd (like oralux) is a great idea too.

One further issue is the use of software speech with speakup, requiring modules and audio to be enabled.  Oralux is working on this for the LIVE CD, but I know it is possible to build a speakup kernel with speakup as modules and to have the speech dispatcher and flite etc. installed, and for speakup to start using it asap and speaking during bootup.  Thus, it would be possible to have the installation CD act like this as well, if the user chooses software speech from the boot prompt.

What work is being done here and how far have people got.

Does anyone want to look at my 2.6.9 kernel with speakup?  The config from knoppix seems to want to build in the PCI and SCSI and IDE HD access stuff rather than have this as modules, and so there is no initrd created.  Any opinions on this kind of config?  I have speakup built in rather than as modules as I initially had a mind to put this kernel on a boot cd for the installer, and had not worked out yet how to make sure speakup works as modules when booting onto that CD. (by the way, I have not yet got the CD customised and working as yet, I only just confirmed that the kernel installs from a deb package and works).


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