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Debian potential user, a question or two

Hi all. I feel as though I've traveled the operating system globe. I started out with Windows, then got a Mac when the Mac accessibility started making waves among the blind, around the MountLion/Maverics days. Then I got into Emacspeak, and since I used that so much, I thought Linux would be a good fit for me. Over the years, I'd gotten a grip on Linux, through virtual machines. So I installed Sonar Gnu-Linux, a dirivitive of arch, on the Mac Mini I've had. Well, Voxin installed well on it, but Emacspeak was slow with the eSpeak server, and didn't work with the Voxin server at all. So, I've decided to give Debian a go, within a virtual machine on my new Windows laptop, core i7, 8 gigs ram. Any ideas on how I should proceed? Is there a simple CLI version that would possibly work, as Linux in the GUI just doesn't work well enough for me to use effectively.
Thanks for any help.
Devin Pratersent from Gmail.

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