"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
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