Perkify - Issues

Written by Rich Morin.

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Precis:  summary of Perkify's known issues

This page summarizes known known issues for Perkify (VM-based Perkian). That is, it does not pretend to be comprehensive, but it gives us a start on where to look for problems.

APT-related Issues

If at all possible, we like to install packages using Debian’s Advanced Package Manager (APT). So, if no APT archive exists, our preferred solution is to generate one. See the section below on The Open Build Service for one approach to this goal.

Missing Archives

If the “APT name” field is “_”, we found no evidence that there had ever been an APT archive for the package. Otherwise, we found an archive for some earlier release of Debian, but nothing for our base Ubuntu release (e.g., 19.10, “Eoan Ermine”).

TitleAPT nameNotes
Alacritty_TTY emulation
BitchX_IRC client
Bookworm_eBook reader
BRL-CAD_solid modeling
Camelot_document conversion
Crystal_programming language
DAISY Pipeline 2_document conversion
Eclipse Che_IDE, text editor, etc.
Ekigaekigaonline conferencing
Elm ME+_email client
Eolie_web browser
ERCercIRC client
Eww_web browser
Excalibur_document conversion
GMediaServergmediaservermedia support
GNU Bool_text searching
GNU Cursynth_music generation
GNU Dap_statistics
GNU Dionysus_retrieving constants
GNU Freetalk_Jabber/XMPP client
GNU Moe_text editor
GNU Oleo_spreadsheet
GSEGrafix_plot generation
GURGLE_programming language
latex-access_braille translation
Lucidor_ebook reader
OCRdesktop_OCR support
pdf-table-extract_document conversion
PINN_Raspberry Pi support
sbl_screen reader
Speakupspeakupspeech synthesis
Tabula_document conversion
tdsr_screen reader
Termux_terminal multiplexer
The vOICe_sensory substitution

APT Presets

Some APT archives want to ask questions during the build. This breaks our automation, so we had to guess at some preset values. Obviously, some of these may be Science Fiction.

Pkg. NameDatabase KeyTypeValue
postfixpostfix/main_mailer_typeselectNo configuration

Miscellaneous Issues

I/O Hardware

Some programs expect to be able to communicate with hardware devices (e.g., audio interfaces, braille displays). These need to be tested for functionality on all three of the expected host operating systems (Linux, macOS, Windows).


Here are some external resources which could help us in tracking and resolving issues.


The scripts and data files that are used to build Perkify should be made available in a separate GitHub repository. This would also give us a place to put issues, wiki pages, etc. For the moment, however, they are embedded in the Pete’s Alley repo.

The Open Build Service

At the kind suggestion of Steven Pusser (@stevepusser on the Debian User Forums), we’re investigating the possibility of using the openSUSE Build Service:

The Open Build Service (OBS) is a generic system to build and distribute packages from sources in an automatic, consistent, and reproducible way. It makes it possible to release software for a wide range of operating systems and hardware architectures. The OBS reference server, which we use to build our distribution, currently (March 2019) hosts 62,954 projects, with 527,451 packages, in 94,872 repositories for numerous distributions and architectures and is used by 60,034 confirmed developers.

The OBS appears to be a perfect place for interested parties to collaborate on porting blind-friendly software packages. If you are interested in helping in this effort, please get in touch!

To be continued…