On Mon, 17 Oct 2016 13:49:34 +0000 (UTC)
Go Linux <goli...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> FYI . . . Refracta 8.0 gets a nice review on Distrowatch
> http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20161017#refracta
> Way to go fsmithred!
> golinux

OK, NOWWWWW we're getting somewhere!

Robert Storey, the article's author, is on the DNG list. Cool!

About a month ago I had to forego the perfect opportunity to install
Refracta on real hardware (my father in law's laptop) because I didn't
know the stuff in this article. I got caught by the "no network" catch
22, didn't have the time to investigate, and defaulted to Void (which
isn't all that easy an install either).

Now, with Robert's article, I think I can do it next time. But I do
have some questions:

About finding which of the 18 wireless drivers to install, and how to
install them: The article mentions having a previous Debian/Devuan or
Ubuntu install and then type "dpkg --get-selections | grep firmware".
But what should one do if he/she has no such previous installation?

The article mentions:

That's fine, except that there are 18 possible drivers, and you might
not know which one to install. You really wouldn't want to install all

Why not? What disadvantages would accrue if I simply installed all 18?
I know doing so wouldn't be neat or crisp or geekily correct, but
wouldn't it enable me to simply get on with it? What would be the
disadvantage besides crudity?

And if I simply got on with it, couldn't I later perform:

dpkg --get-selections | grep firmware

and uninstall any drivers that don't get mentioned? If so, what
uninstall command would I use (the install seemed not to use apt-get)?


The Refracta I installed on the laptop was very hostile to those with
bad vision. It had this garish mostly orange and some black background
that camouflaged any desktop icons and even terminals. The terminals
were set to some low contrast thing like #aaaaaa on #000000, with small
fonts, and transparency. Imagine how hard it was to read anything when
the garish background obscured the tiny, low contrast writing on the

Pretty is nice, but pretty is a luxury for the well-sighted. Those of
us with lousy vision hugely prioritize legibility, which is usually a
direct tradeoff with pretty. There are times I can't read pretty enough
to configure it to legibility.

So I'd suggest a second theme for Refracta, either selectible at boot,
or runnable by a click on the top left desktop icon (remember, the user
might not be seeing the icon clearly enough to read it). The legibility
theme should feature:

* No background image. Just a straight #006600 color, no gradient.

* Terminal coloration either #000000 on #ffffff or #ffffff on #000000.
  Yeah, that gives some people headaches, but those of us with bad
  vision can't even use the less contrasty stuff.

* Big font for the terminals. Big enough that an 80x25 terminal
  emulator should occupy considerably more than 1/4 of the monitor
  area. Consider bold fonts. Ugly, but more readable to the

* No friggin transparency!!!!!

* Window border width of 2px instead of 1px, colored very noticibly,
  especially for the active window (I use #00cccc for the active window
  border and #666666 for the inactive window border). No silly
  gradients on the titlebar: legibility for the poorly sighted demands
  a solid block recognizeable as such.

* Window title bar font big, similar to what I described for the
  terminal emulator font, and very contrasty with the window title bar
  background color. 

* Active window's titlebar *VERY* noticible at a moment's glance. My
  active titlebar has a background of #DD0000 and foreground #CCffff.
  I'm not color blind, but if I were, I might prefer something like
  #000000 on #FF6666. Ugly to most of us, but to a poorly-sighted
  colorblind person this would be a saving grace.

As you read this, it will sound horribly ugly to you, but please
remember it will be used by very few. Most people will use the standard
theme. The only purpose of this alternate theme is to help those whose
vision is so bad they can't afford pretty. And please remember, unless
this alternate theme is either default or dead-bang easy and intuitive
to get to, the poorly sighted person will not have the visual acuity to
navigate the standard theme enough to make their computer legible.



Steve Litt 
September 2016 featured book: Twenty Eight Tales of Troubleshooting

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