Tuesday, 23 December 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

The Good: Vinux currently logs the user in automatically, starts the Orca screen-reader, autoprobes for USB Braille displays and allows the user to enable full-screen magnification with a simple keystroke. The Orca screen-reader now works out of the box with all of the applications which have to be run with root permissions provided they are launched from the Administration menu or the terminal. The default theme and desktop background provide better contrast and larger bolder fonts than the Ubuntu originals and it can now be installed and run from a USB pendrive with persistent storage.

The Bad: Because Vinux is currently based on Ubuntu 8.10 it comes with the PulseAudio sound server and Gnome Speech services by default, which can have a detrimental effect on the responsiveness and performance of the Orca screen-reader compared to that offered by Alsa and Speech-Dispatcher. The Orca 2D magnifier can be jerky and unresponsive, the Compiz 3D Advanced Desktop Zoom does not provide caret tracking and currently neither of these have high quality font smoothing which is essential at higher magnification settings.

The Ugly: Because of the way Remastersys works, in order to retain the required accessibility settings on the live CD, it is currently necessary to create a pre-configured user account which is retained even after it has been installed to a hard drive. This means that the user cannot choose their preferred language and keyboard layout at boot, and the default username and password are retained no matter what they type in, posing a potential security risk even though these can be changed easily enough after the installation process is finished.