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The Sonar project is a two part project. The first part of the project is to create a framework for making a free and completely accessible GNU/Linux distribution. We will be using Trisquel GNU/Linux for the base of this GNU/Linux operating system. We have contacted Ruben Rodriguez the project leader of Trisquel and is very excited about this project. He is more than willing to help however he can to make Trisquel and GNU/Linux (in general) more accessible. Instead of creating a different distribution we are going to try and have the accessible changes made into the Main release of Trisquel. Since the 5.0 release is currently being worked on this is a great time to implement these changes into Trisquel.

Sonar will allow a blind or low vision person to install this OS without help from a sighted person. After installation and logging in for the first time the Orca screen reader will be running by default and allow the user to have access to the computer right away. Also there will be screen magnification installed by default for low vision users. Most of the applications installed will be accessible but we will try to make sure all of them are. This will be just the start of this project, as we will aim to work on and include software for other people with disabilities, such as those with low motor skills, paraplegics, quadriplegics and people with learning disabilities.

The second part of this project is to have a place to create and maintain documentation for accessible software. This will not only be documentation for Sonar but for accessible free software in general. We also want to build a community of developers and users of accessible free software. This project aims to not only create accessible software but to help developers make sure that their software is accessible and provide guidelines to follow while creating a new free software project.

Goals For Documentation

  • Create documentation for the Orca screen reader key bindings.
    • Desktop key bindings
    • Notebook key bindings.
  • Setting Orca preferences
  • Create tutorials for using various accessible software.

Office products

  • Libre Word Processor
  • Libre Spreadsheet
  • Libre Presentation

Internet programs

  • Key bindings for web browser
  • Setting up and using Evolution
  • Setting up and using Thunderbird
  • Setting up and using Pidgin
  • Setting up and using Gpodder
  • Using the Lynx browser
  • using the conkeror web browser

Audio programs

  • Audacity
  • Sound recorder
  • Sound converter
  • ffmpeg
  • socks
  • M player
  • VLC
  • Rhythmbox


  • Calculator
  • disk usage
  • alarm clock
  • using zim wiki
  • disk burner
  • text editor


  • disk utility
  • users and groups
  • update manager


  • power management
  • keyboard shortcuts
  • appearance
  • encription and keyrings
  • email settings
  • main menu
  • Sound
  • Startup applications

create tips for getting things done from the commandline.

  • Scripting things in bash
  • using cron to schedule tasks
  • creating, moving, copying and deleting files
  • how to move through the file system
  • setting up aliases
  • using ssh
  • using emacs
  • making symbolic links
  • using the tar command to compress and decompress files
  • using rsync for backing up
  • Setting up and using Finch
  • Setting up and using Free Talk
  • using rtorrent
  • setting up and configurieng irssi
  • using GNU screen
  • Converting pdf to text
  • converting Microsoft office formats to odf

share work flows and how people get things done

creating a blog and feed

  • write posts about various tips and tricks.

This page was a featured resource in August 2011.