White, who is blind, presented a paper on using Linux with speech and Braille output interfaces.
A GNU/Linux user since 1998, when he switched over from DOS, White's paper provided a comprehensive overview of how much support the blind and sight-impaired people are afforded by free software projects.
Given that his entire audience consisted of sighted people, White first provided a rundown of Braille - and also the way it differs from language to language - and the methods by which it is implemented in hardware and software.
The piezo-electric cell technology behind the refreshable braille display that he uses makes the device prohibitively expensive; he said it cost him something in the region of $8500.
However, he said, this was the only real option for people like him when it came to using computers. Everything else was still in the prototype stage.
The Braille access daemon, BRLTTY, a client/server based infrastructure for applications that use a Braille display, provides the needed drivers to communicate with the hardware.
White's move from DOS to GNU/Linux was aided by the maintainer of BRLTTY, Dave Mielke, who worked with him to extend a driver so that it could support the Braille display device that White uses.
ITWIRE SERIES - CIO CONFERENCE GOLD COASTFor CIOs & Senior IT Management Conference on the Gold Coast!
This event has been personally vetted by the iTWire CEO who has attended four of these conferences in the past and is an event you cannot afford to miss!
We can guarantee that this conference is of great value. Network with fellow CIOs and IT Mgrs and hear Glenn Archer CIO, Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), Matt Barrie, Award-winning Entrepreneur to provide insights on Navigating Your Entrepreneurial Initiatives in a Hyper-connected New World, Stephen Tame, CIO & Head of Group Information Technology, Jetstar, Tim Thurman, CIO, Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.