FOSS Community Member Launches Documentation Project for Blind Linux User

by Ostatic Staff - May. 26, 2010

During a recent interview at technology blog The Stop, OSS community member Tony Baechler raised the issue of how difficult it is for visually-impaired Linux users to access documentation. He says that he would like to point other vision-impaired friends to Linux and open source software but custom audio tutorials designed specifically for the blind are almost non-existent.

"I've had several people ask for audio demonstrations," said Baechler. "It's great if you're comfortable reading text, but how does a brand new user know where to begin? In the sighted world, you can just get a Linux book. While there are some books in an accessible format, most aren't easily available to the blind. Also, they have no idea what kind of screen readers and synthesizers are out for Linux."

Following the interview, Baechler offered to host audio recordings and podcasts free of charge, provided the content relates to blind Linus users. Baechler intends to host the files at, which contains guidelines on recording and submitting audio documentation for Linux users. Of particular interest are recordings that outline the steps for common, everyday tasks like checking email or browsing the Web.

The preferred file format is MP3, however Baechler will accept FLAC and Ogg Vorbis. For now, he is accepting only English recordings, though he plans to expand to other languages in the future.

Documentation is an important part of any Linux distribution or open source application, but making it available to disabled users is part of what makes the all-encompassing community FOSS community so special. To participate in this important project, contact Tony Baechler directly or check out the project page and upload a file yourself.

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