A free screen reader can come in handy in so many instances:
- You need to test a web site or software with screen readers
- You want to understand how blind people use the computer
- Commercial screen readers are too expensive and you need a cost effective alternative
Here I will discuss the most popular free screen reader programs and will show you where to get it from.
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After the Oracle's acquisition of Sun, one of the first decisions to make was to fire Willie Walker, the ORCA project lead. ORCA is a Linux based screen reader, which became very famous and popular among visually impaired people. Sun had a strong commitment to support ORCA in so many ways to offer screen reader users another option, a wider choice of operating systems.
While it is practically possible to use Linux with screen readers, in the past it had been very difficult, many people used a terminal solution and accessed their Linux machine through another computer. ORCA made it possible to directly use a Linux machine, and eventually got it to a point where visually impaired people could use it as their primary system.