When Eyeglasses Aren’t Enough

Jonathan Nadeau is blind. He is a computer user in spite of that. Many blind people around the world are unable to benefit from computers. Jonathan wants to do something about it.

I’ll just quote the email I got


Providing free access to the vision impaired people of the world, Accessible Computing foundations is raising funds to improve the Orca software; the worlds first free screen reader and operating system for the vision impaired. Through Accessible Computing Foundation’s Indiegogo campaign, you will provide computer access once and for all to the vision impaired citizens of the world.

The accessible Computing Foundation is a non profit developing Free assistive technology for people with all types of disabilities. there
are companies that develop assistive technology but the software is priced extremely high so only a small percentage of people that need this software to access a computer can have access to this software. This means that the rest of the people can’t have access to a computer
just because they can’t afford the software. The ACF wants to put an end to this and feels that everyone should be able to access a computer no matter what the physical hurddle might be to use a computer. This indiegogo campaign is the start of bringing access to all people with
types of disabilities. Lets bridge the gap between accessibility and technology! (link updated)


I love my GUI interface on Kubuntu. I love to listen to music with Audacity as I plunk around making clipart or writing or learning to code in Python. A computer is a big part of my life.

Sonar Project Logo

Jonathan Nadeau is blind. He’s also the guy behind Northeast LinuxFest. He  is also working to develop a FOSS distribution specifically directed to making it easier to use a computer for people with impaired vision and any other impairment, actually. Computers are a big part of his life, but the GUI that is fun for me doesn’t help him much. He needs accessibility software like a screen reader that really works.  Jonathan writes:

It’s true that there is proprietary accessible software to help blind and low vision people access a computer, but the average cost of this software is around $900. Since 90% of blind and low vision people live in developing countries, how are they supposed to afford this?

One answer is using the power of the community. There are great coders out there. They love contributing their skill and they are doing so. Jonathan is trying to put together a really great distribution targeting the needs of those with any disability that limits their access to computer power. The Sonar Project is that distribution.

There is a lot of work needed to organize, build, expand and deliver a FOSS distribution. FOSS may be based on Free Software, but the work takes away from other jobs that pay. Burning CDs, printing manuals, all that sort of thing takes more than dedication, too.

Jonathan has started an Indigogo campaign to raise $20,000. Please consider supporting the effort.


You may have students in your school, or even children of your own who would benefit from a FOSS distribution that serves them.

FOSS projects depend on a strong, dedicated, vibrant and supporting community. Even if you are not a coder, you can be involved, and you can make a difference.

By the way, if you are going to the Northeast LinuxFest this spring, stop by to say hello. I’ll be at the KDE table.