[conspire] (forw) issue encountered during installation

Michael Paoli Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu
Thu Jun 30 06:16:52 PDT 2022

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.:
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:

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

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:
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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