Northeast Linux Fest – Advocating Free Software

One of the organizers of the Northeast Linux Fest (March 16 & 17 2013 Harvard University) is blind and the advantages of FLOSS to a blind person convinced him to switch.
Jonathan Nadeau:
“Once I started using a free screen reader with a free operating system, I had freedom in my own computing, and realized the importance of free software for accessibility — it is important for people who depend on accessible software to understand the freedoms that come with using free software, and no longer be stuck in a world of relying on nonfree accessibility software.
So I’m now an advocate of promoting the use of free software in accessibility and want to help educate other people who depend on assistive technology and explain to them the freedoms they deserve.”

About us | Northeast Linux Fest.

This is yet another place FLOSS shines. It’s the right way to do IT of all kinds. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. Debian has a summary of FLOSS assistive technology.

I have used some of this in a classroom with a nearly blind student. It changed his life. He loved computers and had been frustrated by the difficulty of using them. His attendance and attitude in school improved greatly.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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4 Responses to Northeast Linux Fest – Advocating Free Software

  1. ssorbom says:

    Correction: By formatting I mean the ability fix incorrect output by voice when Dragon hiccups.

  2. ssorbom says:

    Simon (my first link) uses julius as a backend. Platypus is output only (no formatting or interface commands), I don’t know much about Sphinx. I would give it a go if I could set it up (might try someday).
    Ubuntu has been planning integration for years, I wish them luck.

  3. oiaohm says:

    To be correct there are a few more than you listed. This is basic allows you to use most of the Windows speech recognition software in Linux including Dragon Naturally Speaking. So there is no need to wait for Dragon Naturally Speaking to be ported you could use Dragon Naturally Speaking on Linux today by this wrapper with it running in wine contained.

    You have as well. It uses CMU Sphinx speech engine.

    Simon you refer to is the Julius engine.

    So basically you have 2 native Continuous speech recognition algorithms that are open source on Linux being CMU Sphinx and Julius and the means to use the Windows Continuous speech as well and a few other Linux supporting commercials.

    So in this regard Linux is not as bad off as people attempt to make out.

    ssorbom I really don’t get the on the Horizon point thinking it worked very well for the past 6 years.

    Linux does rival its windows counter part when it comes to speech recognition due to the fact Linux can use the best engine from windows and 2 of its own. CMU Sphinx is very hard to beat at times.

    ssorbom your problem is the out the box experience. Out the box Linux suxs and a lot don’t know that speachcontrol exists or how to set it up.

    I have seen a blind review of Linux. Yes a review done by a true blind person. The command line they quite like. Graphical not so much. In fact the blind prefer Linux to Windows due to how much you can do with simple text. Text to speech from a text output is simple.

  4. ssorbom says:

    I don’t know about the utilities for blind people, but GNU\Linux systems cannot rival their Windows Counterparts in terms of speech recognition (sadly). I used to use Dragon Naturally Speaking to get my essay work done at school. I have Cerebral Palsy, which among other things hampers my fine motor skills (which in turn means very slow typing). It was a godsend in terms of my schooling to be able to dictate my essays in a full 1/4 of the time it otherwise took.
    Unfortunately, Continuous speech recognition algorithms are complicated and existing Dragon software relies heavily on the Windows Speech API to work…
    There is hope on the Horizon though:

    And, if the GPL option doesn’t work out there is the possibility that Dragon will one day be ported:

    Meanwhile, I slog along at less than 20 words/min (and yes, I did type this by hand).

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