Vinux 3.0.2 review – Distro customized to speak

Vinux is a Linux operating system, especially built for Visually Impaired people. Vinux have special configuration so that it suits for people who are visually special. It is customized to help people with sight problem by increasing fonts & cursors size and speaking software which uses text-to-speech engine to speak out every happening in the system and guides you orally to use the system. Vinux 3.0.2 (second edition of Vinux 3.0 long-term release) comes with latest updated application software like Firefox 10.0.2 but it is built over Ubuntu 10.04.4 Lucid Lynx and ships with Linux Kernel 2.6.32 and GNOME 2.30.2 and of course, it has long-term support.

New changes in Vinux 3.0.2

Vinux 3.0 is a long-term release and its updated release 3.0.2 comes with following major changes:

  • Orca Customizations and man text scripts.
  • Extra system sound schemes added.
  • USB install script included.
  • CFH, openssh and CPU frequency daemon installed by default.
  • The default desktop is Classic GNOME 2.x as you have come to expect from Vinux LTS releases.

Boot-up & Installation

Vinux is built over Ubuntu and to my surprise, Vinux 3.0.2 have Ubuntu’s boot screen. It is simple and elegant, but I prefer a custom boot screen of Vinux will do pretty well and users will like it. I used Vinux 3.0.2 32-bit ISO Vinux-3.0.2-I386.iso’ (size – 732.9MB) to install it on pen drive using UNetbootin. Using the bootable pen drive, I booted up Vinux 3.0.2 on my system. It booted in 37 seconds . It’s fast and just upon booting, even boot screen was not over and the system started speaking up about the processes and apps. This is the beauty of Vinux, which make it good for visually challenged people.

Installation can be started by clicking on the icon named Install Vinux 3.0.2′ on the desktop. Installation is quite-a-like Ubuntu’s installation. You have to select Language, Locale, Time zone, Partition to install and user account details. Files are then copied to the partition and boot loader gets installed in the hard disk. Then after, you can boot Vinux from your hard disk. Installing Vinux 3.0.2 to hard disk will enable you to install apps and updates and more over, it will be faster and more responsive than before.

Desktop & Artwork

Vinux desktop is enhanced so that people can easily read and recognize menus, panels, cursor, etc. It has customized theme bringing simple color schemes, large fonts and window decorations so that desktop environment can be easily maintained by people , even after having low eye-sight. It has around 19 wallpapers (one being a slideshow) and 26 desktop themes. Desktop has one panel at bottom containing menu launcher at left-most, windows (apps currently minimised) list and notification area at right along with time notifier. Panel is made simple to be easily accessible.

Software & Usability

Vinux uses about 210MB RAM at fully loaded desktop , without any custom app running. Check out the screenshot to confirm this resource usage by Vinux.

Vinux 3.0.2 consists of many useful apps. Many of them are needed some or the other time while running the system. Vinux team has well-decided about different people moods and provided apps for all of them. Even we have some dual apps for same purpose. Overall, Vinux is adjusted to fit as the right distro for visually impaired people. Vinux has many accessory apps for this purpose like Dasher, easyStroke Gesture Recognition, Keybindings, Mouse trap, onBoard (on-screen keyboard), On-screen keyboard (another on-screen keyboard with more powerful features), Orca Teacher, Restore Speech, etc.

If you’re thinking that’s all software Vinux is packed with, then, I must warn that’s not the truth. As I foretold, Vinux is full of apps . It has other apps to for general computing purpose like Alarm clock, Autokey (for managing keyboard shortcuts), GtkHash, SearchMonkey (for searching files and folders), Parcelite Cipboard Manager, Tomboy Notes, World Clock, Mangler, Empathy (instant messenger), Pidgin (another instant messenger), Thunderbird (email client), Firefox (web browser), Meld (for comparing two files or directories), AudioBook Converter (converts text, html, doc to audio books), Audio CD Extractor, Gespeaker, Record My Desktop (for video recording your desktop screen), Rythmbox (music player), Movie Player (for playing videos), Pitivi Video editor (for editing videos), ISO Master (for managing ISO files), etc. You’ll be hardly able to find a job unable to do on Vinux.

Security & Management

Built on Ubuntu, Vinux stability can’t be questioned. It has excellent apps to manage the system. Regular updates from Ubuntu repositories will keep your system secure and free from loopholes . Some of the provided apps include APTonCD, Computer Janitor (program to clean temporary files), gParted (partition creating/editing tool), Remastersys Backup, ChangeTheme (easily switch through different themes), Configuration editor, Easy-install Codecs and Easy-install Office tools which allow you to install missing proprietary codes and Office suite without any hurdle, Scheduled tasks and Ubuntu Tweak to tweak most of the hidden settings on your system.

Pros: Big fonts and text-to-speech engine accompany you to operate your system; Built on Ubuntu; Stable system

Cons: Distro not very appealing for non-visually challenged people but you can do changes to make it suite you.

Suggestion: Vinux is a good distro for visually-impaired people.

Please share your experience with Vinux or give us a suggestion using comments below.

Screenshots