Re: Learning What I Need To Know About Basic Linux

  • From: "Donald Marang" <donald.marang@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2010 15:58:51 -0400

I graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering with enough computer 
classes for a minor.  The College just refused to offer that option.  I held 
titles from Satellite Data Systems Engineer to Chief Technologist to Project 
Manager to Computer Architect at Lockheed Martin.  I worked on Military / NASA 
Satellites, Space Station and Information Systems.  About half of those 
prrograms were classified.  Mostly,in whatever technical position  I was known 
for Plagform Interoperapability (Unix / Windows / Mac) and networrking.  I eel 
like a newvy sometimes since I had not done much technical work in 10 years.  I 
always used a computer durring that time, but my health combined with poor 
accessibility on the Mac and even Linux left me stuck with Windows.  Actually, 
Windows 7 is finally starting to shape up too.  

Don Marang

From: Chris Hofstader 
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2010 12:04 PM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Subject: Re: Learning What I Need To Know About Basic Linux

Hey Don,

The other day when you described yourself as a, "jaded Windows guy..." I made 
the assumption that you were new to the various flavors of UNIX. Thanks for the 
correction, I'll update the bio I keep on you in my files <laugh>.


On 07/29/2010 11:19 AM, Donald Marang wrote: 
  I certainly have been working hard and quickly learning bash.  However, I am 
certainly not new to Unix / Linux.  I remember evaluating Linux over 16 years 
ago for Martin Marietta.  I hardly ever used bash before.  I had small exposure 
with many shells, but had gotten comfortable and became a guru in csh on Sun 
workstations.  I still had a long learning curve due to over a decade away from 
programming, a few near death episodes, and worst of all, a decade stuck on 

  The bash script, speedy-ocr, uses accessible zenity dialogs to take the 
complexity of scanning and performing OCR for the blind and visually impaired.  
It provides:  
  - Scanning one or more pages from a flatbed scanner
  - Scan from an Automatic Document Feedder
  - Select one or more files from a list
  - OCR the window active when utility activated
  - Select one of three OCR engines /flavors
  - Select any of the languages available for the selected OCR engine
  - Join the output results if desired into a single file
  - all options can be specified on command line

  If you can wait a few days, I am packaging this script  and submitting it to 
the Vinux repository today or tomorrow.  Creating and maintaining Debian 
packages is completely new to me, so I have been learning here too.  Once I get 
my speedy-ocr script packaged and subitted I plan to package an improved OCR 
program, cuneiform 1.0, which is optimized and available as one of the free OCR 
engines my script can call.  I did not write any of the software in this 
command line program, but want to make it easily available and optimized to the 
Vinux and Ubuntu universe.  

  Check out the Vinux distribution at:

  If you are using Vinux, there is an "EasyInstall - OCR" script on the 
desktop.  It may not yet automatically install the latest speedy-ocr utility.  
I have not tested that yet.  Alternatively type the following in a terminal 
window (Alt + Control + t):  

  sudo apt-get update
  sudo apt-get install speedy-ocr

  Remember to wait a few days to try this.  The latest version has many more 
features and more complete!

  Don Marang

  From: Chris Hofstader 
  Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2010 9:19 AM
  To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Subject: Re: Learning What I Need To Know About Basic Linux

  One more reminder: the FLOSS manual libraries, hosted by Elf and Jamal, have 
a great book on the GNU/Linux system running bash. Coming from Windows, you 
will be absolutely amazed at what you can do with a simple command line script.

  Over on the accessibility@xxxxxxx mailing list, a guy named Don has posted a 
program he calls Speedy OCR and its a really useful scan and read program 
written entirely as a bash script that calls pre-made executables. Six weeks 
ago, he didn't know GNU/Linux from VMS or OS/2 and now he's making serious 

  Jump on in, the water's great!

  On 07/28/2010 08:46 AM, Jay Macarty wrote: 

    I find myself in somewhat the same boat just recently. I have just been 
informed that we are switching all our HP/UX environments over to Suse linux. 
While I have been asured that I can continue to use Tera Term for my SSH 
sessions, I know there are going to be some differences between the KSH shell I 
am used to and whatever shell linux is using. So, I will be jumping into some 
linux book or books myself shortly. 

    We use Weblogic instead of Apache but still I need to learn how to manage 
the Weblogic environment under linuyx right away. So, while I don't as yet have 
any suggestions, I will certainly be following this thread closely.

      ----- Original Message ----- 
      From: Homme, James 
      To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
      Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 7:36 AM
      Subject: Learning What I Need To Know About Basic Linux


      On the system I'm using, I don't have the authority to administrate the 
operating system, but I do have the authority, and need to, administrate the 
other software on the box that doesn't come with it, so I need to come up to 
speed yesterday. You know how that is. 


      I cracked open the book called Learning The Unix Operating System Fifth 
Edition and started using it to learn basic commands. Among other things, two 
things are tripping me up. First, I'm using Putty. I have it set up properly 
with JAWS, but I'm being driven crazy any time data needs to scroll the screen 
because the whole screen is being spoken. 


      The second thing has to do with knowing what I need to learn. I'm just 
trying to learn what I need to know for now, and branching out from there. 
Unfortunately, I'm not sure exactly what all that entales. But fortunately, I 
do have some time, because we're just starting to use MySQL and PHP. 


      So I see three big tasks or things to learn. 


      * What's involved in administrating Apache, like not letting the logs get 
too big, possibly installing a friendly statistics package, or whatever.

      * Setting up daily backups of the changed MySQL database or databases 
that we have.

      * Whatever MySQL administration that I have no earthly idea I may need to 

      * I'll have to upgrade MySQL at some point.

      * I'll have to upgrade PHP at some point.

      * I pray that I never have to upgrade Apache.

      * Possibly installing some nice, convenient packages like PHPMyAdmin. But 
I'm thinking that like the people who were advocating learning the dirty way, I 
think it's best to probably learn how to do it from command lines so that I 
have total control and really know what's going on.


      But I'm starting with basic commands, but at the same time, trying to do 
my first Drupal installation, and I'm in real trouble because of course there's 
this deadline. 


      Back to my UNIX book.


      Specifically, I didn't see in the book two things. First, what 
permissions do files and directories automatically get when you create them? 
Second, I used to know a little more about some sort of file in my home 
directory that I could put stuff in to customize the environment a little more. 
I know that that file has a name that starts with a period. Yet another thing. 
I'm pretty sure that the shell I'm using is called the bash shell, but I don't 
know how to find out. And how does that affect how I work with the system? For 
example, if there's another shell that's better, what is it, what does better 
mean, and how to I turn it on. 


      Like I was thinking of making aliases for cp and rm that automatically 
run the -i option to keep myself from trashing stuff. 


      Someone please hold my hand and tell me it'll be all right. <grin>



      Jim Homme,

      Usability Services,

      Phone: 412-544-1810. Skype: jim.homme

      Internal recipients,  Read my accessibility blog. Discuss accessibility 
here. Accessibility Wiki: Breaking news and accessibility advice


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