GSOC New idea - Braille extension for XKB

Nalin.x.Linux nalin.x.linux at
Sun Mar 2 09:31:27 PST 2014

I am Nalin from Kerala/India. I would like to make braille extension for
XKB(X keyboard extension).
Braille is a writing and reading system using six raised dots. As a night
writing method of writing developed by Charles barbier, it has been
perfected by louis braille. The most relevant feature of braille system is
that the world community became successful in creating a unified code for
all the languages based on its phonetics.

It is in consideration of this fact, lot of apps for linux has braille
output along with the screen readers(BRLTTY with orca)and braille
translators (Dots,Liblouis). At the same time there is no input method
using the six key approach of the braille in linux.

Application's which are currently available in Linux Repositories.[edit]
BRLTTY  : is a background daemon which provides access to the linux console
for a blind person using a refreshable braille display -

Dots : - Dots is braille typesetting program for Linux, it can translate
XML and MS DOC files and displays it both ASCII and braille dot notation.

liblouis : - provides Braille translation and formatting for a large number
of languages and Braille codes.

Orca : a screen reader which support Braille refreshable display's

Sharada-Braille-Writer : one of my projects, it is a simple text editor
which use six key approach of brailler to input text. But it has a big
limitation that is it cannot be used for other application as a layout

Since there is no existing braille layout in Linux, My plan is to make a
Braille Keyboard layouts extension for XKB.

Relevance of braille as an input.
1. it is very simple, uses only six keys of the keyboard.

2. It is specially important for indic languages which use more than fifty

3. braille is a world standard and a braille input method will make it
accessible and user friendly for visually impaired, persons with limited
hand movement, dysluxic

4. braille is a highly efficient system for it can use contractions and
abbreviations and it can enhance the text production speed to a great

5. Having the same code for all the languages of World unified, there is no
need for learning different layouts.

6. It can lead to designing small keybords that can be used with tablets.

Brailler is an equipment for producing braille(6 dots) materials in a fast
and efficient manner, so i selected f, d, s, j, k and l representing 1, 2,
3, 4, 5, and 6 dots of the braille system.

f j    1 4
d k    2 5
s l    3 6
In order to produce 'a' one has to press 'f' and for 'b' 'f' and 'd'
together to be press, and for 'c' f and j like, 'h' will be used for letter
deletion and 'g' and 'h' together for word deletion.

Let me know if any work in this regard has been undertaken by xorg and if
so let me know the existing position thanking you.
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