Making Linux Accessible for the Visually Impaired with Speakup

Speakup makes Linux more accessible to the visually impaired by integrating speech capabilities directly into the kernel.

Many things are planned for Speakup in the future. As has been previously mentioned, work has been started on color recognition and highlight tracking, thanks to some folks at the American Printing House for the Blind. This will enable many menu-based programs to talk much more smoothly.

Another new feature that is planned is keyboard macros, allowing the user to accomplish many different tasks with the press of one key. We eventually want to have a screen memory find function, as well as a goto function to go to a specific set of coordinates on the screen.

Another matter that is under consideration and analysis is configuration files. These files would somehow have to be loaded in on execution of their corresponding program, and would contain voice, macro and other information necessary for the operation of that program.

All of these and more features are planned for Speakup in the future, provided that people are willing to help and contribute their time to the effort of making Linux accessible to the world's blind population.


Today, technology has revolutionized the lives of the world's blind population. Computers allow us to access data more easily than ever, and the arrival of the Internet into the mainstream has made communication and linking with others easier than ever before for everyone. Linux systems are economical by their nature, not requiring the absolute latest hardware to run well. This is especially helpful for the world's blind, who may not have access to as much funding as would be ideal. Now there is a cheap and workable solution for those people, a fully talking Linux system with Speakup; and with the introduction of software speech and Speech Dispatcher, it just got even cheaper.

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Ameer Armaly is a sixteen-year-old junior in high school. He has been blind since birth, and enjoys programming, food and science fiction. He uses computers with the aid of talking programs that read the text aloud, sometimes as fast at 550 words per minute.



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pts's picture

Intressing article this should be of interest to many people to learn more not only for blind people.
I am sensitive to ligth due to a suspected Lyme Disease. And need to use Very dark glasses(90-98% attenuation)
My eye sight is normal when tested, but I can't look at brigth objects like a screen. My illness comes and goes. The other day i couldn't find the curser on the screen until I set Xcursor.sixe:48 default is 12.
Not all programs honoured this seting in X.
I need some advice on how to use accesabilty features of Linux.
where to find more information that is not dated.
Is there any people i sweden reading this, that can help me.