ALViC – Accessible Linux for Visually Challenged launched

ALViC- Accessible Linux for Visually Challenged was launched on 11th February, 2013 by Prof R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser, Govt. of India & Shri J. Satyanarayana, Secretary, DeitY, Ministry of Comm. & I.T., Govt. of India during the CDAC Technology Conclave on 11th Feb, 2013 at Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi. During the 2-days technology conclave, a number of technologies and products developed by CDAC under various thematic area were showcased.

ALViC is a complete desktop environment which provides a comprehensive solution for Visually Challenged users. This is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 10.04; and uses Orca 3.2.0 xdesktop screen reader as the main interaction mechanism for visually challenged users. They can use it out of the box because accessibility features suitable for fully blind as well as for partially blind users are enabled by default.

Main Features :

  • Free and open source desktop environment
  • Enhanced Orca with skim read, sentence navigation, list shortcut and structural navigation of text documents
  • PDF documents made accessible in Linux environment
  • Easy navigation and search facility on Desktop icon view
  • Accessible login for visually challenged users
  • Suitable desktop themes for partial blind
  • Other assistive tools like OCRFeeder, Audio book converter, Emerson DAISY reader, sound converter etc. useful for visually challenged users are also included.

This product has been released under the project ‘Enhancing Accessibility for FOSS Desktops’ at CDAC, Mumbai being carried out under NRCFOSS-Phase II. The research and development activities under this project are aimed at developing software-based assistive technologies/solutions for the differently-abled people.


ALViC can be downloaded from here.

Launch of ALViC can be watched here.

More details and documentation about ALViC can be accessed here.

GEM (GEstures with Mouse) – a mouse gesture based input mechanism from CDAC, Mumbai

CDAC, Mumbai has released beta-0.1 version of GEM (GEstures with Mouse). It is an open source input mechanism which uses gestures as input to the system. Gestures can be drawn using a mouse or some equivalent device like touch pad, joystick, pen tablet etc. Gestures can drawn either as single-part (continuous) or multi-part (discontinuous) as shown in screen shots below:

drawing a single-part gesture
Drawing a single-part gesture in input window
Drawing a multi-part gesture
Drawing a multi-part gesture in input window

This Input mechanism is intended for people suffering with different kinds of motor disabilities, who may face problems in using mouse and keyboard in conventional way. Hence, it provides them with an alternate and effective mechanism for using the system to perform various tasks such as navigation, executing commands & keyboard shortcuts, and launching applications etc. on Linux desktop.

More details about GEM can be accessed at

GEM related URLs:

1. Accessibility Project Main page at CDAC, Mumbai website can be accessed at

2. GEM can be download at

3. User documentation for GEM can be accessed at

Feedbacks, bug reports or feature enhancement requests about the application can be sent to ossd[at]cdac[dot]in.


how to solve audio problem in dell optilex 380 desktop on ubuntu 10.04 – Part 2

This post is related to the previous post “how to solve the audio problem in dell optiplex 380 desktop on ubuntu 10.04” and describes another optional method of solving the problem in case the solution described in previous post does not work. On my system, the previous method didn’t work. But, the method being described below worked. This solution is simple. Upgrade from your old ALSA driver (not working already) to the latest stable ALSA driver (It works). On my system, the installed version of ALSA driver was 1.0.23 which was not working and I updraded it to version 1.0.24 which is the current version. The steps to be performed are described below:

1. Determining current version of ALSA:

…$cat /proc/asound/version

Advanced Linux Sound Architecture Driver Version 1.0.23. (As appeared on my system, although installed version may differ on different system.)

2. Stopping alsa-utils: This is necessary to avoid porblems duirng the upgrade.

…$sudo /sbin/alsa-utils stop

3. Installing pre-requisite tools: Following pre-requisites may be requied before upgrading to new version of ALSA in order to compile it. These are:-

a. build-essential: This package contains an informational list of packages which are considered essential for building Debian packages.

b. ncurses-dev: This package contains the header files, static libraries and symbolic links that developers using ncurses will need.

c. gettext: This package is a set of tools that provides a framework to help other GNU packages produce multi-lingual messages.

d. xmlto: xmlto is a front-end to an XSL toolchain.

e. libasound2-dev: This package contains files required for developing software that makes use of libasound2, the ALSA library.

f. linux-headers-`uname -r`: This package relates to Linux headers belonging to particular kernel. ‘uname -r’ returns the current release level of  Linux kernel.

g. libncursesw5-dev: This package contains the header files, static libraries and symbolic links that developers using ncursesw will need.

It may be that these packages are already installed, hence it is good to check whether a package is already installed or not. Command for it is (in ubuntu or debian-like systems):

…$dpkg -s <package-name> or optionally

…$<package-name> –version (as per GNU standards)

However, the above said packages can be installed in the following way:

…$sudo apt-get -y install build-essential ncurses-dev gettext xmlto libasound2-dev

…$sudo apt-get -y install linux-headers-`uname -r` libncursesw5-dev

4. Downloading tars of alsa-driver, alsa-libs and alsa-utils: Next step is to download alsa-driver, alsa-lib and alsa-utils tars from alsa project website. Although, these tars can be downloaded to any desired location, it is good if they are downloaed in user’s own home directory. The commands for this step are as follows:

…$cd <home-directory>

…$rm -rf  alsa* .pulse*        (remove if any previous alsa related material is there.)




5. Compiling and iinstalling alsa-driver, alsa-lib and alsa-utils: Next step is to create necessary folders, compiling and installing the downloaded packages. This can be done as following:

a. Creating necessary folders:

...$sudo rm -rf /usr/src/alsa
...$sudo mkdir -p /usr/src/alsa
...$cd /usr/src/alsa
...$sudo cp <home-directory>/alsa* .

b. Unpack tar files:

...$sudo tar xjf alsa-driver*
...$sudo tar xjf alsa-lib*
...$sudo tar xjf alsa-utils*

c. Compile and install alss-driver:

...$cd alsa-driver*
...$sudo ./configure
...$sudo make
...$sudo make install

d. Compile and install alss-lib:

...$cd ../alsa-lib*
...$sudo ./configure
...$sudo make
...$sudo make install

e. Compiling and installing alsa-utils:

...$cd ../alsa-utils*
...$sudo ./configure
...$sudo make
...$sudo make install

(It is to be noted that compiling the package may take some time.)

Once, installation is over, computer might need to be restarted so that the new settings may take effect. Now, new version of alsa can be determined by using the command specified in the beginning. It is good to be sure that everything is configured properly by using the following command:

...$sudo alsaconf (This command tries to detect the sound card on the system and creates a configuration file for ALSA.)

Once, the configuration is complete, system restart may be required again.

Note: This post is based on the process described at

how to solve audio problem in dell optilex 380 desktop on ubuntu 10.04

Taken from link

Follow the instructions:
1) Make sure the package “build-essentials” is installed
2) In your terminal:
    $ wget -c
    $ tar vxzf hda-verb-0.3.tar.gz
    $ cd hda-verb-0.3/
    $ make
    gcc -Wall -O2 -g -c -o hda-verb.o hda-verb.c
    gcc -o hda-verb hda-verb.o
3) run your “hda-verb”:
    $ ./hda-verb /dev/snd/hwC0D0 0x1a 0x701 0
    $ ./hda-verb /dev/snd/hwC0D0 0x1b 0x701 0
    if you’re lucky, your system can play sound now
4) add two lines in /etc/rc.local, so that they’ll be automatically applied when booting:
    /path/to/hda-verb /dev/snd/hwC0D0 0x1a 0x701 0
    /path/to/hda-verb /dev/snd/hwC0D0 0x1b 0x701 0
    Remember to replace “/path/to/hda-verb” with the actual full path of your “hda-verb”.
More details:

As informed by: Mr. Safeer