Perkian - Related Work

Written by Rich Morin.

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Precis:  Perkian Project - Related Work

Most personal computer operating systems (e.g., Linux, macOS, Windows) support a minimal level of accessibility. For example, they may provide screen readers, support for braille displays, etc. However, supporting visually disabled users is not their primary goal, so there is no comprehensive effort to make these systems accessible.

Linux Variants

Several Linux variants have been developed which explicitly strive for accessibility. Some of these are aimed at (Intel-based) personal computers; others concentrate on (e.g., ARM-based) single-board computers. Most of these systems are based on popular Linux distributions, such as Arch Linux, Debian, Slackware, or Ubuntu.

Some of these distributions have substantial user communities; others seem to have disappeared from the Internet. However, all of them should be examined for examples of packages that Perkian and Perkify should include. Here are the ones I know about (more suggestions welcome!):


F123Light is based on Arch Linux ARM, a port of Arch Linux for ARM processors. It is produced by VOISS and intended for use on single-board computers such as the Raspberry Pi.


Grml is based on Debian. It is a “live” distribution, intended for use by system administrators. It includes support for BRLTTY and espeakup.


Knoppix is based on Debian.

Raspberry VI

Raspberry VI is based on Raspbian (and thus Debian). The project was motivated by the desire to resolve some problems in Raspbian’s speech synthesis support and is largely inactive at present.


Slint is based on Salix OS (and thus Slackware).

Sonar GNU/Linux

Sonar GNU/Linux was based on Manjaro (and thus Arch Linux). According to Distrowatch, this distribution is discontinued. However, here is the package list.

Sonar GNU/Linux aims to be an accessible GNU/Linux distribution to people of all needs. The project’s goal is to bring awareness of free accessible software to people that depend on assistive technology.


See also: Sonar GNU Linux merges with Vinux

Speakup modified Fedora

“Speakup modified Fedora” was a blind-friendly variant of the Fedora Linux distribution. Unfortunately, the project seems to have disappeared. For example, the link now goes to a site that displays residential furniture.


TalkingArch is based on Arch Linux.

This is TalkingArch, a re-spin of the Arch Linux live ISO, modified to include speech and braille output for blind and visually impaired users. Arch Linux is designed to be simple, lightweight, and flexible. TalkingArch retains all the features of the Arch Linux live image, but adds speech and braille packages to make it possible for blind and visually impaired users to install Arch Linux eyes-free.

TalkingArch project is dead since 2017, but Tarch is fork with last release from June 2019.

Trisquel GNU/Linux

Trisquel GNU/Linux is based on Ubuntu (and thus Debian). However, it only includes free (libre) software.


Vinux is based on Ubuntu (and thus Debian).