All,I know this thread is some what old, but I felt it is necessary for me to put up my experiences with Linux.
I have been using Linux in a professional and home situation for the last 5 years. ubuntu is dedicated to making their distro with accessibility as a standard feature.
Orca is an okay environment. If you use firefox 3, then yu can surf the web. The shell environment (Xterm) works quite well. Support in other areas is still lacking. I haven't yet found a good Xwindow email client. Open Office is not yet at the same level as Word and Jaws. Hopefully they shall get there one day.
Linux has a lot of free synths available which work quite well. Brltty is the braille output program.
I personally like to use Speakup because it permits me to do everything I require under Linux. YASR is crap and is very difficult to use. Both of these appplications work in the native console environment. ubuntu used to come with Speakup as part of the distro. I do not know if you can still get Edgy which had it in it.
Note: Speakup was a part of ubuntu. But the Linux Kernel developers pulled the plug due to stability issues. I do not know if Speakup is still being maintained.
Emacspeak is still the best editor under Linux for a VI. This is basically a screen reader of its own.
Debian, ubuntu and like Distros have a far easier management tool than does Redhat. Aptitude is the tool which you use to grab your packages. apt-get, apt-cache and other tools are not as powerful as Aptitude. Such as:
To summorise, Orca is the only good Screen Reader for XWindows and Speakup I believe is the best Console Screen Reader. Emacspeak is the best text based desktop environment under linux.
__________View the list's information and change your settings at http://www.freelists.org/list/programmingblind