[Accessibility] Text-only accessible booting

Matthew Wilcox willy at fc.hp.com
Thu Aug 7 10:48:27 PDT 2003

I realise this is a year-2 project, but I don't really feel comfortable
with tackling any of the year-1 stuff, plus Linux has a fairly long
development cycle so it might be a couple of years before this shows up
in distributions.

Does anyone object to using the main mailing list to discuss accessible
booting?  We can create a new list if that's preferred.

I'd like to make sure I understand the problem.  Let's start with a

Alice (who is blind) goes to the store and buys a new computer
preinstalled with Blue Shoe Linux 7 and a text-to-speech card.  She
goes home, plugs it in and boots it.  The machine boots up without
problem and gets to the graphical login screen (which is where the story
ends for the purposes of accessible booting).

So what does Alice need from accessible booting?  What does Alice want
from accessible booting?  And what can the kernel help her with?

It's probably helpful to give an overview of the bootup process at this

1. Alice turns on her computer.
2. The BIOS displays a splash screen and various cryptic messages.
3. It loads a bootloader (typically this is done by having a boot device
   choice stored in NVRAM).
4. The bootloader boots a kernel.
5. The kernel initialises (spewing cryptic messages to the screen).
6. Various console drivers are initialised.  Sometimes they replace
   earlier consoles, normally they add new consoles.
7. The kernel starts init.
8. init starts a whole pile of programs including a graphical login screen.

I have more to say, but let's leave it here and let people explain why
my scenario is unreasonable and what I'm missing...

It's always legal to use Linux (TM) systems

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