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Making ASUS Eee PC accessible

The project has been started in France, with a French blind preferring French language. The English page will be populated as sonn as more English-writing volunteers begin to write there. Currently, you may either visit the French pages or go to Debian's wiki about the Eee PC.

The author team

From left to right: Georges Khaznadar, Gérard Collumeau
Gérard, with the new Eee PC. In the foreground, his ordinary computer.
  • Georges Khaznadar is a teacher in physics ans chemistry
  • Gérard Collumeau is a blind municipal employee, currently retired

List of software, as of 2007-12-25

Here is it. The packages were installed on top of the Debian/Testing setup made thanks to

December 27, 2007

  • The main switch is difficultly found. It lacks small bumps.
  • The tiny bumps exisiting on the keys F and J are too small. A few centigrams of matter would be necessary to ensure a faster finding.
  • The bootup is effective 50 seconds after activating the main switch, we hear the welcome message of Orca. We had to add "gnome-terminal" to the list of applications launched at Gnome's startup to have Orca behave consistently at the begin: when we have only the desktop, Orca emits no sound at all when we type random keys.
  • The known bug at shutdown (the motherboard remains powered) is there. Gekko's workaround does not work, unfortunately. Reminder of the uneffective workaround: «Edit /etc/default/acpi-support with your favourite text editor (or nano) and add snd_hda_intel to the MODULES="" line.»
  • We shall have to add an easy to fetch text file about the key shortcuts of Orca, to enhance the accessibility kit.

February 16, 2008

The accessibility tools in Debian/Sid are not advanced enough

Installing Gnome-Orca does work. We managed to have the Wifi connection after a few documentation browsing. Alas: one of the most useful tool, Firefox, does not behave correctly with the screen reader Orca as it comes from the repositories Debian/Sid. The menus and the commands are correctly rendered by the speech synthesis, but there is no useful rendering of the text nor the structure (headers, links) of the web pages currently visited.

The last revisions of Firefox 3 and Gnome-Orca are satisfactory

I read the page about Firefox 3 and Gnome-Orca and applied successfully the recipes. There is enough room in the EeePC to install the complete development environment (svn, compilers, libraries), and it is powerful enough to compile the most recent applications in a short time. Firefox 3 is downloaded as a bundle of binaries, the other stuff comes as source archives which can be compiled with autotools, gcc and docbook-related software.

With this release of Firefox 3 (also named Minefield as it is beta software) and the current version of Orca, the contents of the web pages are rendered by the speech synthesizer consistently. Now Gerard will test the accessibility of this installation.

See also

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