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5 assistive technology open source programs

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Assistive technology software is any program or operating system feature designed to let a user with cognitive, sensory, or physical impairments use a computer system. Innovations in assistive technology software can make a huge difference in the daily lives of these people.

Most assistive technology software is not cross platform because it is often closely integrated with the operating system and screen display sub-systems. Commercial developers also face the challenge that the potential user base is not large, so prices can be high, which restricts the user base even more. Open source and freeware developers have more freedom in developing assistive technology projects, but to be successful they still need to achieve a critical mass of users. One way to tackle this problem is to expand the user base to include communities across the world that cannot afford the high prices of commercial assistive technology software.

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Review: ArchMerge 6.4.1

The distribution I have been asked most frequently to cover so far in 2018 is ArchMerge, an Arch-based project which runs the Xfce desktop environment and can be installed using the Calamares system installer. If the description sounds familiar, it should, as this summary could equally well apply to Archman, SwagArch and one edition of the Revenge OS distribution. There are two main features which set ArchMerge apart from its close relatives. First, ArchMerge is available in two flavours. The full featured desktop edition ships with three graphical user interfaces (Xfce, Openbox and i3). A second, minimal flavour is available for people who want to start with a text console and build from the ground up. The other point which helps ArchMerge stand out from the crowd of Arch-based distributions is its documentation. Arch Linux is famous for its detailed wiki, and rightfully so. ArchMerge takes a slightly different approach and, instead of supplying detailed pages for virtually every aspect of the distribution, the project supplies quick overviews and tutorials for common tasks and issues. These overviews are each accompanied by a video which shows the user how to perform the task. The ArchMerge website places a strong emphasis on learning and the tutorial pages guide visitors through how to install the distribution, how to configure the desktop, how to install additional software and how to set up file synchronizing through Dropbox. There is also a section dedicated to fixing common problems, a sort of FAQ for distribution issues. Since there are videos for the topics covered, we are shown where to go and what each step should look like, rather than just being given a written description. Read more

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Tails 3.6.1 is out

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