Frequently asked questions

Microsoft Windows has all necessary accessibility features, why blind people may want to run GNU/Linux?

GNU/Linux is very interesting due to the following reasons:

  1. With GNU/Linux everybody can make his/her first step towards professional software developing, because it is much more preferable for such purpose. It's a perfect way to payed work, what is very actual for most of blind people.
  2. GNU/Linux is capable of running on Raspberry Pi. GNU/Linux and Raspberry Pi together makes the information technologies more accessible for wide range of blind users.
  3. GNU/Linux is much more cheaper, if not free at all.

What can I gain from participating in LUWRAIN development?

Participating in LUWRAIN development is the easiest way for the blind to get into Java technologies and GNU/Linux. Java is in high demand for software engineers over the globe. So LUWRAIN is a wonderful way to get the skills for future employment.

What LUWRAIN advantage do you consider as the most important?

We consider portability over various operating systems as the most important advantage of LUWRAIN. We don't know any other portable accessibility solutions equally suitable for running on Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux (ChromeVox arguably the closest to that).

Is LUWRAIN as an operating system really useful?

Yes, LUWRAIN as an operating system can be rather useful for running on portable computers or on Raspberry Pi.

Why LUWRAIN is suggested for education, while it's more reasonable to offer the widely used systems?

  1. The major problem of education for the blind is a lack of educational materials, rather than an exact interactive tool. LUWRAIN is integrated with its cloud service LUWRAIN Books providing the full cycle of creating and delivering of DAISY books.
  2. LUWRAIN interface better supports such educational standards as xAPI and CMI5.
  3. When pupils finishes a school, the exact tools will be replaced with newer ones, so it's more reasonable to teach using of different computer interfaces with easily switching from ~one to another.
  4. In the United States in 2018 Google ChromeBook has 60% of school computers market, nobody takes this fact as undesirable in any way.

If I install LUWRAIN, should I uninstall the screen readers I currently use?

No, LUWRAIN doesn't have any conflicts with screen reading software.

Is there any LUWRAIN version for mobile phones?

No, but we are thinking about LUWRAIN as a cloud service with a client for mobile phones.

Self voicing applications are not popular among blind people, is it a really good idea to develop this kind of interface?

We see great self-voiced projects (Emacspeak, for example) which get a lot of advantages developing this approach.

In the meantime, Screen readers don't voice applications fully automatically: this requires proper care from the developers of applications, often in conjunction with custom scripts for the application in the screen reader itself. LUWRAIN maintain accessibility of the functions of opened and portable Java libraries rather then accessibility of applications interfaces. In both cases a lot of manual control is needed for proper support of accessibility features, and we don't see any significant difference between these two solutions.

Maybe it's more reasonable to apply your efforts on developing usual GNU/Linux accessibility features?

LUWRAIN is a portable solution, while GNU/Linux has around 2% of desktop systems. We think that developing of a portable solution is more effective and preferable.

LUWRAIN developing goes too slowly, NVDA does this much more quickly

NVDA is only a handler of a number of accessibility APIs (UI Automation, Microsoft Active Accessibility, IAccessible2 and the Java Access Bridge). So it doesn't contain actual accessibility technologies, what makes it much simpler than LUWRAIN. In addition, NVDA development has started in 2006, LUWRAIN is much younger (the first commit in 2012).

How works the browser in LUWRAIN?

LUWRAIN uses the JavaFX component javafx.scene.web.WebEngine. It supports JavaScript and provides access to DOM-structure of the loaded page. This component is based on the WebKit engine, also used in some popular browsers like Google Chrome.

Screen readers do everything what is necessary, is LUWRAIN really needed?

This statement is correct (but not completely anyway) for Microsoft Windows only. In addition, such approach ignores financial questions, implying paying for Microsoft Windows or using it illegally.

If LUWRAIN is purposed for blind users, does it mean that the screen is always empty?

LUWRAIN shows a text version of the controls a user is working with. The text is written in contrast colours and with monospaced font. This feature is extremely important for visually-impaired users.

If there is only a text content on the screen, does it mean that a graphical picture never appears?

Some applications can turn on showing of graphical materials on the screen. We support this feature for visually-impaired users and for demonstration purposes (showing a presentation in PDF format). For example, LUWRAIN browser can show graphical version of a page in addition to its textual form. Also PDF and image files can be drawn on the screen graphically.

Can LUWRAIN users create their own scripts for adding custom features?

Yes, LUWRAIN has a script engine for the creation of extensions on JavaScript.

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