Re: PDF generated by LaTeX; Vinux Solution

  • From: "Don Marang" <donald.marang@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 6 Nov 2010 20:12:12 -0400

I agree that pandoc probably better meets the needs that you mentioned. I provided the link as an introduction and is where I got the information to download and install pandoc. I know the author primarily uses Windows and I think he has instructions for installation on Windows. I personally have not done this yet. In Vinux, performing a 'sudo apt-get install markup-binder' also installs pandoc because it is listed as a dependency. I love that about the Ubuntu package system, it automatically gets the latest version of every required separate bundle of software and libraries and allows them to be updated individually! It creates a fantastic building block environment.

Vinux started as a Linux distribution that was preconfigured for blind and visually impaired users. It has two magnifiers and three screen readers installed. It uses Orca on the gnome desktop and SpeakUp in the consoles. Both use Speech Dispatcher at the lower level and is configured to be more responsive than other distributions. It also attempts to provide a standardized set of consistent key bindings across different packages. The community continues to determine which software is accessible. Most of these are included in "EasyInstall" packages in catagories, like Office, Multi-media and security. I am working this weekend on an update to an OCR bash script called, speedy-ocr, that makes scanning and performing OCR much easier for blind users.

We have a developer who just developed new algorithms and code to speed up voices up to 4x without losing quality. He will soon be integrating that into Speech Dispatcher to effect all voices and probably a few utilities as well. Vinux is designed to provide a platform for developers and users to work on accessibility and push those improvements back up to Ubuntu. It is now being used as an accessibility testbed for Ubuntu.

Vinux can be downloaded as an ISO image from or one of it's mirrors and burned to a CD or DVD. It can boot from the CD in what is called a live CD. It is fully operational, but is slower and all changes disappear when shutdown. There is also a Virtual World sister site that provides downloads and instructions for Vinux as a prepackaged Virtual Machine and a live USB Flash drive with persistent storage. Both of these are designed to be downloaded and created in Windows. These can be found at:
Vinux Virtual Edition -

Of course, the best performance is accomplished by installing to a hard disk, either as the only OS or as a dual boot system. Enjoy!

Don Marang

There is just so much stuff in the world that, to me, is devoid of any real substance, value, and content that I just try to make sure that I am working on things that matter.
Dean Kamen

From: "QuentinC" <webmaster@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, November 06, 2010 5:14 PM
To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: PDF generated by LaTeX

After reading the introduction of both pandoc and markup binder, what I need in fact would be pandoc and not markup-binder which seem to be more for conversion in the opposite direction. Right now, I just want to convert LaTeX to a kind of structured raw text format, but the apparent polyvalence of pandoc could be useful to me in the future. I'll check if I can download it for windows, but it could also be interesting on linux. It could even be interesting to my professors so that they can exchange documents with me easier. I should test if it correctly handle math formulas and code snippets.
Thank you very much.

You are attracting my attention for another subject on your post: you are talking about a linux distribution made especially for blind people ? What has it special compared to standard distributions like ubuntu, debian, etc. ? Does it have integrated good speech suppord, more stable, better voice than that awful espeak and possibly in my native language instead of english ? Does it include accessible software for most daily tasks ? That subject seem interesting, but if you answer we may create another thread.

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