Difference between revisions of "TalkingArch"

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(New notes about building. Also fixed section headings.)
(Added section about braille support, and other small corrections.)
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[[Category:Accessibility (English)]]
 
[[Category:Accessibility (English)]]
 
== Introduction ==
 
== Introduction ==
This page describes a modified Arch Linux install CD that includes spoken output for blind users. The modified version is mostly equivalent to the official "netinstall CD", but the system should start speaking as soon as you boot with it. Speech is provided via the sound card, using the eSpeak software synthesizer and the Speakup screenreader.
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This page describes a bootable CD / USB image customized for blind users. The modified version is mostly equivalent to the official "netinstall CD", but the system should start speaking as soon as you boot with it. Speech is provided via the sound card, using the eSpeak software synthesizer and the Speakup screenreader.  It is also possible to use a braille display, via brltty. You can obtain the images [http://the-brannons.com/tarch/ here].
  
It is only available for the i686 platform; x86-64 is not supported. Click [http://the-brannons.com/tarch/ here] for links to the images.
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Images are available for both the i686 and the x86_64 architecture. These are hybrid .iso files, so they are suitable for either a recordable CD or a USB flash drive.  Just download the image required for your architecture, and write it to the medium of your choice.
  
The detached signature was made using the gpg key associated with the address '''cmbrannon79 at gmail dot com'''. The key ID is '''CE8D2EE8'''. The fingerprint is '''A2C6 0177 783D 222E 3677 E247 83A0 DB7D CE8D 2EE8'''
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Detached gpg signatures are provided for all of the images.  The signatures are made with the gpg key associated with the address '''cmbrannon79 at gmail dot com'''. The key ID is '''CE8D2EE8'''. The fingerprint is '''A2C6 0177 783D 222E 3677 E247 83A0 DB7D CE8D 2EE8'''
  
 
=== Credits ===
 
=== Credits ===
This CD was produced by Chris Brannon, and the downloadable images are hosted by Tyler Littlefield.
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The images are produced and hosted by Chris Brannon.
Thanks to the following people for submitting valuable feedback regarding this project: Chuck Hallenbeck, Julien Claassen, Alastair Irving, Tyler Spivey, and Keith Hinton.
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Thanks to the following people for submitting valuable feedback regarding this project: Chuck Hallenbeck, Julien Claassen, Alastair Irving, Tyler Spivey,  Keith Hinton, and many others.  Thanks also go to Tyler Littlefield, who previously hosted the files.
  
 
== Installing from the CD ==
 
== Installing from the CD ==
 
The following list of steps is a brief guide to installing Arch Linux using this CD. The instructions assume that your root partition will be mounted on /mnt.
 
The following list of steps is a brief guide to installing Arch Linux using this CD. The instructions assume that your root partition will be mounted on /mnt.
  
#When booting, Grub provides a very long timeout. Press enter once the drive stops spinning.
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#When booting, the bootloader provides a very long timeout. Press enter once the drive stops spinning.
#Use the installer on the CD, as per the [[Beginners Guide]]
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# You are strongly encouraged to read the ArchLinux documentation, especially the [[Beginners Guide]].    There is also a shorter installation guide on the CD, found under /usr/share/aif/docs/.
 +
# Use the installer on the CD, to install and configure the basic system.
 
# You'll need to install some additional packages with pacman.  Unfortunately, the mirror that you selected during the install process isn't used after you exit the installer.  So copy the mirror list from your installation using this command: <code>cp /mnt/etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist</code>
 
# You'll need to install some additional packages with pacman.  Unfortunately, the mirror that you selected during the install process isn't used after you exit the installer.  So copy the mirror list from your installation using this command: <code>cp /mnt/etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist</code>
 
#Install the alsa-utils, speakup, and espeakup packages: <code>pacman --root=/mnt --cachedir=/mnt/var/cache/pacman/pkg -Sy alsa-utils speakup espeakup</code>
 
#Install the alsa-utils, speakup, and espeakup packages: <code>pacman --root=/mnt --cachedir=/mnt/var/cache/pacman/pkg -Sy alsa-utils speakup espeakup</code>
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Setting DIALOGOPTS and enabling ''highlight tracking'' mode should be sufficient for navigating most menus.
 
Setting DIALOGOPTS and enabling ''highlight tracking'' mode should be sufficient for navigating most menus.
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 +
==== Partitioning Hard Drives ====
 +
You may wish to use an alternative tool for partitioning your hard drives.  Both parted and fdisk work very nicely with the screenreader.  If you choose to use one of these tools, do so before starting the installer.  Then, skip the partitioning steps.
  
 
==== Setting the Date and Time ====
 
==== Setting the Date and Time ====
The "set timezone" menus are a joy to navigate, because the entries are numberedJust type the corresponding number and press enter.
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You should have no trouble with the timezone dialog.
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After you select your timezone, the installer provides several options for setting the date and timeThe easiest is NTP.  Simply select it from the menu, and be done with it.  Your clock will be synchronized via the network.
  
The "set date and time" menus are problematicIgnore them, because there is a better way to set your system's clockOnce you have booted Arch Linux.
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== Braille Support ==
 +
The latest image includes brltty, for those who own braille displaysThe brltty package available on the CD was compiled with as few dependencies as possible.  It is packaged as brltty-minimal in the Arch User Repository.  If you wish to use braille, you will need to supply the brltty parameter at the boot promptAlternatively, you can start brltty from the shell, after the system has booted.
  
From the hard drive, install the ntp packageNext, execute the command:
+
The brltty boot-time parameter consists of three comma-separated fields: driver, device, and tableThe first is the driver for your display, the second is the name of the device file, and the third is a relative path to a translation table. You can use "auto" to specify that the driver should be automatically detected. I encourage you to read the brltty documentation for a fuller explanation of the program.
ntpdate rolex.usg.edu
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You need to be logged in as root to perform both steps. Your system's clock will be synchronized with a time server located in
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For example, suppose that you have a device connected to /dev/ttyS0, the first serial port. You wish to use the US English text table, and the driver should be automatically detected.  Here is what you should type at the boot prompt:
the US state of Georgia. You may wish to find a time server that is closer to youChris Brannon never manually sets a system's clock, since setting it with NTP is so much easier.
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arch brltty=auto,ttyS0,en_US
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Once brltty is running, you may wish to disable speech.  You can do so via the "print screen" key, also known as sysrq.  On my qwerty keyboard, that key is located directly above the insert key, between F12 and scroll lock.
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 +
This section may be incompleteUnfortunately, the author doesn't own a braille display, so input from those who use this feature is desired.
  
 
== Maintaining Your Speech-enabled Arch Linux Installation ==
 
== Maintaining Your Speech-enabled Arch Linux Installation ==
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== Mastering Speech-enabled ISO Images ==
 
== Mastering Speech-enabled ISO Images ==
 
 
This process is now fairly straightforward.  Just grab and install the talkingarch-git package from the AUR.  It depends on archiso-git, so you need that as well.  See /usr/share/doc/talkingarch/README for full instructions.
 
This process is now fairly straightforward.  Just grab and install the talkingarch-git package from the AUR.  It depends on archiso-git, so you need that as well.  See /usr/share/doc/talkingarch/README for full instructions.
  
== Additional Notes ==
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== Further Resources ==
Presently, this CD is only usable with English-language speech.
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 +
Michael Whapples made an audio tutorial demonstrating the process of installing ArchLinux using this CD.  Click [ftp://linux-speakup.org/pub/speakup/audio/blind_archlinux.mp3 here] to listen to it!
  
 
== Disclaimer ==
 
== Disclaimer ==
This CD image is not an official release.  It is not endorsed by anyone other than Chris Brannon.  It is provided solely for the convenience of its creator and other blind users, and it comes with absolutely no warranty.
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This is not an official release.  It is not endorsed by anyone other than Chris Brannon.  It is provided solely for the convenience of its creator and other blind users, and it comes with absolutely no warranty.
 
<!-- vim: set ft=Wikipedia: -->
 
<!-- vim: set ft=Wikipedia: -->

Revision as of 23:40, 28 April 2010

Introduction

This page describes a bootable CD / USB image customized for blind users. The modified version is mostly equivalent to the official "netinstall CD", but the system should start speaking as soon as you boot with it. Speech is provided via the sound card, using the eSpeak software synthesizer and the Speakup screenreader. It is also possible to use a braille display, via brltty. You can obtain the images here.

Images are available for both the i686 and the x86_64 architecture. These are hybrid .iso files, so they are suitable for either a recordable CD or a USB flash drive. Just download the image required for your architecture, and write it to the medium of your choice.

Detached gpg signatures are provided for all of the images. The signatures are made with the gpg key associated with the address cmbrannon79 at gmail dot com. The key ID is CE8D2EE8. The fingerprint is A2C6 0177 783D 222E 3677 E247 83A0 DB7D CE8D 2EE8

Credits

The images are produced and hosted by Chris Brannon. Thanks to the following people for submitting valuable feedback regarding this project: Chuck Hallenbeck, Julien Claassen, Alastair Irving, Tyler Spivey, Keith Hinton, and many others. Thanks also go to Tyler Littlefield, who previously hosted the files.

Installing from the CD

The following list of steps is a brief guide to installing Arch Linux using this CD. The instructions assume that your root partition will be mounted on /mnt.

  1. When booting, the bootloader provides a very long timeout. Press enter once the drive stops spinning.
  2. You are strongly encouraged to read the ArchLinux documentation, especially the Beginners Guide. There is also a shorter installation guide on the CD, found under /usr/share/aif/docs/.
  3. Use the installer on the CD, to install and configure the basic system.
  4. You'll need to install some additional packages with pacman. Unfortunately, the mirror that you selected during the install process isn't used after you exit the installer. So copy the mirror list from your installation using this command: cp /mnt/etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist
  5. Install the alsa-utils, speakup, and espeakup packages: pacman --root=/mnt --cachedir=/mnt/var/cache/pacman/pkg -Sy alsa-utils speakup espeakup
  6. Customize /mnt/etc/rc.conf: Add speakup and speakup_soft to the MODULES array. Add alsa and espeakup to the DAEMONS array.
  7. You also need to save the state of the sound card, so that it will be retrieved on reboot. Execute the command alsactl store and copy the file /etc/asound.state to /mnt/etc/asound.state. Alternatively, alsactl -f /mnt/etc/asound.state store
  8. When you boot the system from the hard disk, it should start speaking.

Handling Dialogs with Speakup

The Arch Linux installer, /arch/setup, makes extensive use of the dialog program. Users may experience some difficulties when navigating several of the menus and dialogs. This is not specific to Arch Linux. Other text-mode installers often have similar problems. The following discussion is a compilation of suggested solutions from members of the Speakup community.

First, set the DIALOGOPTS environment variable to the value "--visit-items", before starting the ArchLinux installer.

At a shell prompt, type the following command:

export DIALOGOPTS='--visit-items'

Enable highlight tracking. Press the star key on the numeric keypad. If you use a laptop that lacks the numeric keypad, press the sequence capslock control 8.

Speakup will say "highlight tracking".

Setting DIALOGOPTS and enabling highlight tracking mode should be sufficient for navigating most menus.

Partitioning Hard Drives

You may wish to use an alternative tool for partitioning your hard drives. Both parted and fdisk work very nicely with the screenreader. If you choose to use one of these tools, do so before starting the installer. Then, skip the partitioning steps.

Setting the Date and Time

You should have no trouble with the timezone dialog. After you select your timezone, the installer provides several options for setting the date and time. The easiest is NTP. Simply select it from the menu, and be done with it. Your clock will be synchronized via the network.

Braille Support

The latest image includes brltty, for those who own braille displays. The brltty package available on the CD was compiled with as few dependencies as possible. It is packaged as brltty-minimal in the Arch User Repository. If you wish to use braille, you will need to supply the brltty parameter at the boot prompt. Alternatively, you can start brltty from the shell, after the system has booted.

The brltty boot-time parameter consists of three comma-separated fields: driver, device, and table. The first is the driver for your display, the second is the name of the device file, and the third is a relative path to a translation table. You can use "auto" to specify that the driver should be automatically detected. I encourage you to read the brltty documentation for a fuller explanation of the program.

For example, suppose that you have a device connected to /dev/ttyS0, the first serial port. You wish to use the US English text table, and the driver should be automatically detected. Here is what you should type at the boot prompt:

arch brltty=auto,ttyS0,en_US

Once brltty is running, you may wish to disable speech. You can do so via the "print screen" key, also known as sysrq. On my qwerty keyboard, that key is located directly above the insert key, between F12 and scroll lock.

This section may be incomplete. Unfortunately, the author doesn't own a braille display, so input from those who use this feature is desired.

Maintaining Your Speech-enabled Arch Linux Installation

You shouldn't need to do anything extraordinary to maintain the installation. Everything should just seamlessly work.

Mastering Speech-enabled ISO Images

This process is now fairly straightforward. Just grab and install the talkingarch-git package from the AUR. It depends on archiso-git, so you need that as well. See /usr/share/doc/talkingarch/README for full instructions.

Further Resources

Michael Whapples made an audio tutorial demonstrating the process of installing ArchLinux using this CD. Click here to listen to it!

Disclaimer

This is not an official release. It is not endorsed by anyone other than Chris Brannon. It is provided solely for the convenience of its creator and other blind users, and it comes with absolutely no warranty.