[conspire] CABAL ... Debian "blind" install: RE: (forw) issue encountered during installation

Michael Paoli Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu
Sat Jul 9 08:08:35 PDT 2022

I'm intending to at least make it virtually
to CABAL today ... maybe even in person, as it sounds
mightily deliciously tempting:

In either case, intending to at least also be there virtually,
and also see if I can work out doing a proper blind Debian
install.  Don't think I'll give myself the extra challenge
of doing it without watching - as I'm probably not nearly
so adept in navigating it by audio - but hoping I can come up
with the full sequence/procedure that should work without
having to actually look/watch, and hopefully I'll pay quite
enough attention listening also, so if there's any procedural or
menu glitch or bug in doing a blind install, that I'd also
catch and note it.

Intending to do it on a Virtual Machine (VM) ... so there may be
hardware differences, but other than that, expecting it ought
be about the same.  Most of the time I don't even bother or think
about audio on a VM - so I'll have to be sure I get that functional
too.  Even rather surprises me when I happen to discover I have
that, as usually I'm not using audio on a VM ... and sometimes catches
my by surprise when I find it's there and fully functional ... e.g.
like when I fire up a GUI browser under X and play some video that
also has audio, or likewise fire up browser and do Jitsi Meet on
that within VM and the audio and video are all perfectly operational.
I think I did that about a year or two ago on testing out a system
I did a Debian install on - plus Debian VM within.

Anyway, should be bit of exercise/experiment for me, as I don't think
I've actually run through Debian's blind installation procedures in
... well, many years.  But it ought work smoothly enough.

I'll also download relevant ISOs ahead of time, so I should have those
available for the VM to use, and mostly avoid excessive network or
download needs, etc.

I'll update if/when I'll be on my way to go there in person or
if that turns out to be my plan.

> From: "David Chan" <chandtw at pacbell.net>
> Subject: RE: [conspire] (forw) issue encountered during installation
> Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2022 20:02:38 -0700

> I am not sure if I can show up in person, since I am in the middle  
> of a conference that runs on Central time zone, but I can join  
> virtually though [at least for this month, maybe I can come in  
> person next month?]
> I was able to get speech during the Debian installation, but when it  
> comes time to reboot it appears some components are missing from the  
> installation, and it keeps looking for the boot device, and I wasn't  
> sure if it is because of the SSD or if it is something else; the  
> ubuntu installed successfully, I just wasn't able to activate the  
> speech after the install, and I believe there is no option  
> installing using speech
> --David
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael Paoli <Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu>
> Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2022 6:17 AM
> To: David Chan <chandtw at pacbell.net>
> Cc: conspire at linuxmafia.com
> Subject: Re: [conspire] (forw) issue encountered during installation
> Let's see ... has been a while - alas, well over a decade - since I  
> last assisted a user with a Linux installation for blind user.  I  
> ought practice more - at least once in a while, make sure it works,  
> or at least mostly does so, and get myself at least a bit more  
> familiar with the procedure.
> Peeking at some Debian documents, e.g.:
> https://wiki.debian.org/accessibility#Debian_installer_accessibility
> It seems it should mostly "just work" - though there are at least  
> some specific steps to be followed along the way - e.g. notably  
> activating speech during install.  Anyway, I'm also much more  
> familiar with Debian than Ubuntu ... though I'd guestimate Ubuntu  
> would be relatively similar ... ish?  But don't think I've ever  
> attempted that with Ubuntu, and I'd guestimate likely that support  
> is better on Debian.  Perhaps you'll make the next CABAL meeting.   
> If so, perhaps let us know in advance.
> I might make it to the next CABAL meeting.  And also of relevance,  
> the conspire list, if you've not joined:
> http://linuxmafia.com/mailman/listinfo/conspire
> Anyway, also, my guestimates where things might've gone sideways or  
> failed with the earlier installation, etc. attempts - I comment  
> in-line further below:
>> From: "Rick Moen" <rick at linuxmafia.com>
>> Subject: [conspire] (forw) issue encountered during installation
>> Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2022 23:44:08 -0700
>> Sending so more folks look at this.  I've just clarified to David that
>> the next CABAL event will be July _9th_.
>> ----- Forwarded message from David Chan <chandtw at pacbell.net> -----
>> Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2022 21:42:43 -0700
>> From: David Chan <chandtw at pacbell.net>
>> To: installers at linuxmafia.com
>> Subject: issue encountered during installation
>> Reply-To: chandtw at pacbell.net
>> I am not sure if I can make it in person next Saturday, is there still
>> virtual meeting option available?
> I believe virtual will also be available again - in more recent many  
> months, generally in-person - with proof of vaccination - has been  
> available, and also virtual - which started during the pandemic.
> Watch the conspire list for confirmation and URL - but I'm also  
> guesmating the URL for virtual will likely be the same.  And the  
> archives are open to the public, so anyone can read postings, even  
> if they're not a member of the list.
>> Blind user that uses a screen review package called 'speakup' which is
>> usually in a kernel module but is sometimes done as a kernel patch
>> Attempted installation on a Toshiba Satellite CT55 with a Samsung 500G
>> SSD
>> With ubuntu server 22.04LTS, OS install was successful, and I can see
>> the module was loaded:
> As for Ubuntu, Ubuntu-Server would be a good choice for blind, as it  
> forgoes the ewey GUI stuff, and, at least last I checked, the  
> installer for Ubuntu-Server is essentially the Debian installer plus  
> some modest Ubuntu customizations - probably most notably for many  
> is different color scheme - but there are some other modest  
> differences too.
>> # modprobe speakup_soft
>> The 'espeakup' package is then installed to make the computer talk:
>> # Apt-get install espeakup
>> However, there was no speech after the install of the package
>> finished, and I am unable to figure why it is not talking - maybe the
>> firmware driver is incorrect?
> Not sure, but one thing I might guess as a possibility, and I've  
> sometimes run across this with Debian installs, and have seen what  
> looks to be same or similar from at least some fair number of user  
> installs of, notably Debian, but Ubuntu may be quite similar in this  
> particular regard.
> Anyway, often on a fresh install, I find folks complain of no audio.
> And terse summary of my response is generally along the lines of:
> "Volume?"
> Most notably, as often I find/observe/hear that at least by default,  
> though the audio typically installs fine, it often initially  
> defaults on a fresh new install to having the volume levels start  
> out set to zero.  So sometimes it's a mere matter of turning up the  
> volume in relevant configuration and/or controls.  At least that's  
> the most common issue I see with "no sound" on a fresh Debian  
> installation - and may well be likewise for Ubuntu.
>> Switched to Debian 11.3, choose 's' for speech at the selection
>> prompt, the talking installer starts, and the installation process was
>> successful, the CD drive spits out the disk, and hit return to reboot
> Yes, Debian, a fine selection - and my favorite distro.
>> However, after the reboot, the laptop was unable to detect the OS -
>> apparently the files needed to boot were somehow not installed [I
>> switched to tty2 and looked around before rebooting after installing
>> again, and see the boot folder was missing]
> So, I'm guestimating some step was likely missed during install.   
> Unlike some other distros - and even installers - with the Debian  
> install - at least using the Debian installer - when it comes to at  
> least the critical parts that overwrite stuff on drive, it defaults  
> to not doing so.
> So, e.g. typically doing things such as writing the partition table  
> out, writing the boot information to the drive, etc., will often  
> default to no, or not pick the device automatically - but give  
> option of devices, on where to write the boot information.  So, if  
> one misses one of those steps, one could easily end up with an  
> install that isn't bootable.
> However, if one's already done most all the install work, and might  
> prefer not to repeat that, may also be relatively easy to fix.   
> Doing a "rescue" mode boot from ISO, one can often fairly easily  
> repair a situation like that - notably adding or even otherwise  
> fixing missing or broken boot bits, without need to reinstall.  And,  
> at least from what I seem to gather glancing through some relevant  
> Debian documentation, looks like Debian, at least now, also well  
> supports running "rescue"
> mode from fairly common install ISOs, and well supports, e.g.  
> speech, and other accessibility capabilities there too - quite  
> similar to when doing install - just slightly different set of  
> actions to instead go into rescue mode.
>> Any suggestions & help appreciated, thank you very much for looking
> Some additional resources one may wish to consider or utilize,  
> Debian does also have excellent lists and support.  Might even be  
> able to search out an answer there or other useful information.
> Debian also has pretty darn good live interactive support on IRC,  
> that can be a quite good resource - I usually find it very good for  
> faster and/or interactive response/information, when the issue or  
> matter isn't too horribly complex or rare, etc.  Also, the Debian  
> IRC stuff is publicly logged, so, e.g. if an answer or useful  
> response comes later after one has dropped off, can often review the  
> IRC logs to pick up that information later.  Anyway, IRC there might  
> be well suited to, e.g. help one go through rescue mode, examine and  
> repair the current situation.
> Anyway, yes, there is also CABAL coming in near future - let us  
> know, preferably at least wee bit ahead of time, if you'll be coming  
> - and in-person, or virtual, and what issues you may still be facing  
> at that time ... or maybe you'll update to let us know all has been  
> solved by then ... and it's a cool meeting/event to attend in any  
> case ... and yummy food if one makes it in person.
> Oh, might also be good to let us know, if you continue to have  
> issues, if you're doing UEFI or MBR install, and if you know if the  
> hardware supports just one, or both, and if both, which method  
> you've used on installation.  And thanks for providing the hardware  
> information - that's important, and we may also be able to figure  
> out that and/or other relevant information based upon knowing what  
> the hardware is.

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