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Puff is intended for people who need text and graphics displayed at a high magnification factor. Typically users will want both the pointer and text to be tracked as they work.

Puff follows the pointer (aka mouse), magnifying a part of the screen under the cursor. In addition, puff can monitor the X11 protocol of X clients and magnify the region where graphics were last drawn. By monitoring a program like xterm, puff can follow the text cursor automatically. Puff switches focus between the pointer and graphics depending on which was last active.

In order to track the protocol of X clients, puff sets up a false server on the machine that it is executed on. This server is by default at display number 1. Any X clients connecting with this false server are connected by puff to the same X server that puff is connected to. Puff is transparent to X clients.

UnWindows 1.1

UnWindows V1.1 is a collection of programs written for the X Window System designed to assist visually-impaired users who are not blind in working with a window-based workstation interface. The utilities are designed to provide assistance in two common tasks: locating the mouse pointer (footnote: The term `cursor' is often used to describe the mouse pointer; we use the term `pointer' to differentiate it from the text cursors associated with different shell and application windows.) on the screen, and selectively `magnifying' portions of the screen. Mouse pointer location is given through both visual and aural feedback to the user. A modified version of {twm}, along with the {border}, {change_sounds}, and {coloreyes} programs, accomplish this task. Screen magnification is accomplished with the {dynamag} program. The individual programs that make up UnWindows V1.1 are each described in the user guide.

Voice Output Applications


Emacspeak is the first full-fledged speech output system that will allow someone who cannot see to work directly on a UNIX system. Emacspeak is built on top of emacs - once you start emacs with emacspeak loaded, you get spoken feedback for everything you do. See http://www.cs.cornell.edu/Info/People/raman/emacspeak/emacspeak.html

Related Information Sources


The Disability Action Committee for X (DACX) is a volunteer effort whose goal is to develop accessibility features for workstations running the X Window System. This link has information on the efforts of DACX, workstation products, as well as related papers.

Linux Access HOWTO

For general information on Linux, including software packages such as Emacspeak, BRLTTY, Rsynth, xocr, xzoom, and NFBtrans.

Porting UltraSonix to Linux

UltraSonix is the name of the screen reader which evolved out of the Mercator Project at GA Tech. The goal of this project is to make UltraSonix available to visually-impaired users running X Window System applications on personal computers using Linux. This link contains source code, source code updates, design manuals, a porting guide, and a FAQ list.


Information on making the personal computer UNIX operating system (e.g., Linux) more accessible to blind computer users. This site also contains more information on porting UltraSonix to Linux.