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LinuxNews.com: Command Line Interface Accessible to Visually Impaired with trplayer

Jul 18, 2000, 18:25 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michelle Head)

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"The Linux command line interface (CLI) has become more accessible for blind users through the efforts of Matthew Campbell, a 19-year-old visually-impaired Kansas college student who recently released an audio player that makes the CLI more user-friendly. "trplayer is a RealMedia player (RealMedia players are produced by Seattle-based RealNetworks) for Linux which you run from the command line," he explained. "It can play RealAudio, RealVideo (with sound only), MP3 [moving pictures experts group (MPeg) audio player 3], and anything else that RealPlayer 7 can play."

"Campbell explained why he believes the CLI is important to visually-impaired users. "Though some blind people can work very productively with Windows, others find the CLI much easier. In trplayer I'm not really making the CLI more accessible; that's the job of Speakup and other programs like it," he said. "I'm making a previously inaccessible application accessible from the command line. This is especially important under Linux, since blind Linux users don't yet have access to the X Window System."

"Campbell went on to explain why Linux is his operating system (OS) of choice for visually impaired users. "I think Linux has some great advantages for blind users. First, it's much less expensive for blind people to use Linux than it is for them to use Windows," he said. "The leading screen readers for Windows cost somewhere from $500 to $800. Emacspeak and Speakup, which are two programs for making a Linux system talk, are both free software. Though Speakup currently requires a hardware speech synthesizer such as the DoubleTalk, which costs around $300, the Speakup programmers are working on a software-based synthesizer that can be used with a sound card."

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