This is a sample episode of the new Creative Commons tech podcast. It's brought to us by Moss and our own Tony Hughes. From the blurb:
We are two Blokes who love Linux and trying out new stuff, we thought it would be interesting to share our experience of trying new Linux and BSD distributions and how we found it trying to live with them as our daily driver for up to a Month at a time, by recording a podcast about how we got on.
Comment #1 posted on 2019-06-20 01:02:44 by Mike Ray
Another Linux distro reviewing podcast in which the word accessibility was uttered exactly zero times.
Two distros reviewed, Linux Mint Debian Edition and Solus, if that is how it is spelt.
This podcast was 39 minutes (approx) in length, so assuming each distro had an equal share of time, then how much impact would be made by spending thirty seconds for each talking about accessibility?
I want to know 2 things always:
1. Is the installer accessible, whcih means can a blind person like me, not visually impaired, BLIND, install it without sighted help. Is there a hot key which starts the Orca GUI screen reader, or speakup if it is a text-based installer.
2. If I chose speech for the install, assuming number 1 is true, then when I reboot will it come up speaking.
Note that I will not accept any Linux distro which I cannot install alone. None of you would entertain any distro for which you had to run to a blind person for help installing.
Please, spend some time adding accessibility to your headings, otherwise this podcast is worse than useless to me and people like me
Comment #2 posted on 2019-06-20 18:52:22 by Bob
reply to Mike
I also listened to the podcast and not once did they mention the distro support for non Latin character sets ? Given the amount of people outside the English speaking world, surely they could have took some time to check Chinese support, and Arabic, and Russian, and Greek, etc. !
They made no bones about the fact that they are reviewing the distros from their point of view only. Moss mentions using some proprietary office suite that I'm sure the majority of HPR listeners are not using.
But are these gentlemen even the best people to include accessibility in their reviews? I don't think either of them have a need of, or have any experience using accessibility tools. Would we even be able to trust their assessment given that their inability to use them could simply be down to not knowing which key to use to enable support. Would they even know to check that the speech synthesizer is legible when sped up ?
I would suggest that would be better done by someone who "will not accept any Linux distro which I cannot install alone."
So why don't you contact the lads and ask them if they would be interested in having you join the show to review a distro entirely from an accessibility point of view.
If they are not I'm sure that there would be an audience here on HPR that would love to hear it.
Comment #3 posted on 2019-06-20 20:49:21 by Mike Ray
Accessibility and non-English character sets
I don't think stuff about non-English character sets is very relevant here, since internationalization is part of the standard Linux base and available in all distros. Perhaps whether language can be selected at install time is relevant, but since Tony, I think, mentioned that UK is Ukraine and not GB, or was that another podcast, these installers are both likely to include localization.
I can't commit to joining anybody for a podcast, but I could offer a goodly amount of guidance as to what we, meaning blind people, need to know.
Of course VI is just one aspect of accessibility. Consider also people with limited or impaired fine motor control, or missing hands etc.
At the very least, I want to know one thing immediately with every distro...can I install it alone, IOW with no help from a light-slave. If the answer is no, not interested.
Windows 10 can now be installed by me, thanks to Narrator now being an excellent screen reader. But then accessibility on Windows leaves Linux dead. Just one of the ways in which Windows, IOS, and Mac OS are all superior
Comment #4 posted on 2019-06-21 14:25:31 by Tony Hughes
Responce to Mike and Bob
Mike, you make a very valid point and we will bare accessibility issues in mind for future episodes, unfortunately not in time for this month as we had recorded on the Wednesday before HPR aired our first episode.
While I have not had much experience in installing using voice guided installer it is worth looking at for any new reviews in the future.
Bob, as Mike says most modern distributions have very good support for other languages and in Episode 3 when talking about PCLinuxOS I mention the fact that the community forums have an international section which has a number of the most common languages covered, although I did not mention the number of languages supported at install, again worth the few seconds it would take to mention this at the install stage of the review.
It is this kind of feedback that is valuable, as a new podcast we are still in our infancy and learning what the community would find useful in this kind of show.
Thanks again for the Feedback
Comment #5 posted on 2019-06-23 19:32:06 by Bob
I wasn't serious
I wasn't serious about trying all the languages. I was trying to highlight to Mike that it is impossible to cover every aspect of a distro and all you can cover is your own area of expertise.
Comment #6 posted on 2019-06-25 07:37:21 by Mike Ray
I understand that not every aspect of Linux distro review can be covered. But accessibility is pretty fundamental, and all the time podcasts and developers ignore it, it will never get any better.
As I suggested, the podcast I heard was 39 minutes long, and reviewed 2 distros. So that is approx 19 minutes for each. If 30 seconds out of those 19 minutes just answered my single question, can I install it alone, or is there an SSH server running when any Live DVD or CD is booted, then I will be able to either immediately dismiss the distro, or give it more attention.
Some distros are fundamentally bad. For example Regolith Linux uses the i3 window manager, which is a dead loss for accessibility.
Some distros are a disgrace, like the interview Ken gave with the lead developer of Mint a couple of years ago when the dev declared "we're not interested in accessibility."
But just take thirty seconds or so to answer a11y fundamentals.
It is very annoying when so many distros are Debian or Ubuntu derivatives, but have stripped out the speech from the installer
Comment #7 posted on 2019-06-29 10:17:50 by TonyH1212
Further responce to Mike and Bob
Thanks to you both for the feedback, Bob I figured you didn't expect a full run down of all the languages, but a quick few seconds to mention that languages other than English are listed or not is useful in a review.
Likewise Mike, I appreciate your needs and a quick note to say if the distro is friendly to those with a sight impairment would assist many in the community.
Actually re visiting the last episode and PCLinuxOS I was not able to work out how I could enable a voice assisted install for this OS and likewise on a couple of others I tried in a VM, so mentioning this at the start of the review wouldn't take long.
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