E.1 Tips on Using Screen Readers and Braille Displays

Examples of screen readers include JAWS, SuperNova, NVDA, and Window-Eyes. Each of these provides text-to-speech output and supports braille displays.


Window-Eyes is now a part of ZoomText Fusion by Ai Squared.
  • Use a character mode based terminal such as Putty or Cygwin. Do not use an X-Windows-based VNC.

  • For screen reader users, we recommend installing "screen" in order to get multiple session support. The Linux based screen program allows for multiple sessions in different windows. You can access each session with keyboard based commands, for example, Ctrl-a. Screen allows you to detach or re-attach to a given window session. Like VNC, if you get disconnected when running Oracle ExaCHK, or patchmgr, or other program, you can re-attach to and resume that session.

    The screen package is not installed by default on Exadata. You will need to install it using yum. See the "How To Use Linux Screen" tutorial at https://www.rackaid.com/blog/linux-screen-tutorial-and-how-to/ for details.

  • In the settings of the terminal software, set the cursor type to "block" cursor, not blinking or flashing.

  • The output of the commands can generate a significant amount of information and might spill off the terminal window, and the virtual window or braille display. For example, the following command can generate a long alert history output:

    dcli -g cell_group -l root cellcli list alerthistory

    To display the output one screen-full at a time, pipe the output through the more command, as in the following:

    dcli -g cell_group -l root cellcli list alerthistory | more

    You can then use the space bar key to page through the output.

  • When exachk or dbnodeupdate.sh is launched interactively, do not pipe its output to the more or page commands. As it runs, it displays informational messages on the terminal. The messages pause when exachk requires user input, then resume after input is received. Important messages, user input, errors, and check results are logged in various files. The results from exachk are written to an HTML report. All you need to do is to transfer the HTML report to a computer that runs your assistive technology and open the HTML report in a browser that you can access with your assistive technology.

  • If you are running the patchmgr utility, and it is performing a task that takes some time to complete, the output displays a "spinner" and a countdown clock. The "spinner" cycles through the \, |, and / characters in-place, and the countdown clock is updated periodically. When the task is done, the output displays a "success" or "error" message, depending on the outcome. The output messages are also logged in a log file.

  • A few recommended screen reader settings include the following (JAWS is used here just as an example):

    • Set the JAWS cursor to "All". Use the key combination of Insert + s until you hear "All".

    • You may need to turn off virtual cursor. If you are using JAWS, you can do this using the key combination of Insert + z.

    • Use the virtual window to capture text. If you are using JAWS, you can do this using the key combination of Insert + Alt + w.