Friday, 10 April 2009

Did Nostradamus Predict the Release of Vinux 1.5?

No he didn't! But if he had he might have predicted some of the following features for the next version of your favourite accessible open-source operating system: The installation and configuration of Speech-Dispatcher as the default speech system for Orca and Espeak without the loss of multi-channel sound facilities. The addition of LinuxSpeaks and Emacspeak as two alternative x-terminal or purely console based audio desktops for the beginner and advanced user respectively. The reconfiguration of YASR to use the Festival speech synthesizer by default to provide a higher quality emergency backup screen-reader for the x-terminal or the console. The installation of accessibility toolbars and plugins for Firefox which allow the user to tweak the layout, fonts and colours of the internet on the fly. The installation of xcalib and configuration of xbindkeys to provide colour inversion as well as the ability to change the brightness, contrast and RGB colours of the x display without using Orca or Compiz. A larger font and higher contrast theme for the Gnome desktop by default as well as the inclusion of extra accessibility themes and icons. Support for the Spanish, French, German, Dutch and Flemish languages and keyboard layouts out of the box. Mousekeys will be enabled out of the box which will allow a user to control the mouse pointer using the numpad arrow keys. The addition of an autorun.inf file to load a html guide on booting and installing Vinux if placed in a Windows machine. The addition of NVDA, Firefox and a few other windows based open-source applications for Windows users to try out. The enabling of all of the advanced text editing plugins for Gedit by default. If possible the replacement of the default Ubuntu usplash, boot splash and GDM login theme with more accessible alternatives. A choice of gnome-terminal with more accessible colour schemes and larger font sizes. The inclusion of more simple document converter scripts like antiword and pdftotext etc to enable the conversion of proprietary document formats into plain text. The reorganisation of the Vinux menus so that there are separate menus for console based applications instead of integrating them into the existing menus. The creation of zenity dialogue boxes to enable a simple gui interface to terminal scripts that require user input and/or arguments to run. The inclusion of bookmarks for useful Linux/Accessibility websites and services in Firefox, Lynx and Netrik by default. The enabling of all supported Ubuntu repositories including those which contain non-free and/or restricted packages, although none of these will be included on the CD/DVD. A list of useful terminal commands provided by default in the bash history file to make it easier for beginners to start exploring the Linux terminal. An update to StormDragon's latest version of the Orca script which makes the time, date, battery and weather information available from Orca. In the very distant future I am also planning to experiment with making Vinux based on Xubuntu with the light but GTK enabled XFCE desktop and Debian Lenny 5.0 to see what advantages or disadvantages can be gained. That's All Folks!