A blind person's Linux installation story

The story of how a blind person installed Linux. A lesson to all who complain Linux is difficult: try doing it without seeing anything!

22 September 1998

The following is part of a letter a blind person (who wishes to remain anonymous) sent me regarding my Linux System Administrators' Guide. It tells the story of his Linux installation. I found it impressive, and wish to share it with the world, with the permission of its author.

Before complimenting, let me state that I use linux for somewhat rare reasons. Because I'm using a braille display to read all screen output (blind from birth), graphical interfaces such as windows 95 are next to unusable for their lack of screen overview in braille, although the many braille display drivers I tested do their best. Secondly, linux generally needs no special braille drivers to be operated. (I do it via a serial terminal. Linux on the desktop has getty, my notebook with braille display has telix for dos which is my exclusive means of communicating at the prompt).

Taking the plunge into linux takes quite some time and, in my case, much effort as there is no sufficiently knowledgable person around to help dealing with braille-specific issues. For the more and this was really bad, before getty runs I had to do all installation without screen output. No boot disk ever sends its output to a com port so I couldn't follow the boot prompts. I had to find out about the exact boot procedures via text files on the net and via newsgroups (using a unix terminal account at my provider's) and then remember each event in sequence using a tape recorder. Fdisk was a hard one, as was everything that followed (up to finally creating a working gettying system). It took me more than two years but now I'm actually really proud to have made it this far. I have currently (nor in the future) no job because of my kidney desease. Meanwhile, I'm taking my laptop to and from hospital to keep studying on anything that interests me. The internet is a great place for info on anything And now I'm learning how to use linux. There is screen output and that really is something!