Previous interview subject Spencer Hunley suggested I interview Jonathan and I’m glad I did. Accessibility is an important issue that unfortunately doesn’t get the attention it deserves (especially in web design). Part of Jonathan’s work is sponsoring Sonar GNU/Linux, which seems to be based on Ubuntu (judging by the version numbers), but seems to be getting ready to base itself off of Manjaro. Jonathan is also running an IndiegoGo campaign to further develop Orca, the Linux screenreader. Projects and campaigns like this are important because accessibility software can be prohibitively expensive. Free and open source software, like Sonar and Orca, make it possible for more people to have access to the technology they need, without having to jump through a lot of hoops to get it — or worse yet, not having anything at all.
- Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Jonathan Nadeau and I’m a blind GNU/Linux user and a free software advocate. I’m the executive director of the Accessible Computing Foundation where we develop free and accessible software for people with all types of disabilities.
- Why do you use Linux?
I use GNU/Linux because I’m a free software advocate and promote using free software for assistive technology and accessible computing. I believe in the ideals of free software and think all software should be free as in software freedom.
What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
The distro I use is Sonar GNU/Linux. It is an operating system that the Accessible Computing Foundation sponsors.
What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?
I use either the GNOME Shell or the GNOME Fallback Mode. I use either of these because they are both very accessible with the Orca screen reader which I need as a blind GNU/Linux user.
What one piece of software do you depend upon with this distribution? Why is it so important?
I would have to say the Orca screen reader because without it I wouldn’t be able to use a computer.
What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?
I have a Lenovo notebook that is a Core i5 with 4GB RAM and an 80GB SSD. I also have an 8-core AMD 4.0GHZ with 16GB RAM and an SSD.
Interview conducted November 19, 2013