initramfs-tools/plymouth: cryptroot option for blind users

Jeremy Zimmer jeremyz at
Fri Feb 12 23:40:58 GMT 2010

Hi Accessibility folks,

I've got a fairly important bug/feature request that's accessibility
related, and I'm hoping this list can help me find the appropriate place for

Here's the issue:  When your root partition is encrypted, there is no way
for a blind user to tell when to enter their encryption passphrase, or
whether or not they have successfully unlocked the volume (group).

The way we've done this in the past is to use a custom local-top/cryptroot
script, which looks for an environment variable, which is set by

When $BE_ACCESSIBLE is set, our cryptroot does:

on passphrase prompt (ascending tone): /bin/been -f 1000 -n -f 1500

on successful unlock (descending tone): /bin/beep -f 1500 -n -f 1000

What we don't have is a nice way to integrate this into the installation
process.  We drop in (or remove) /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/accessibility
via a shell script containing a HERE doc (which also rebuilds the initramfs
image).  Not a great method, and I'd welcome ideas on how to do this in a
more Ubuntu-y way.

My inclination is to file a bug against initramfs-tools, and see what the
maintainers of that package say.  I'm a little worried that this might get
lost amongst their almost 200 open bugs, but hopefully someone on this list
can help get it prioritized as an accessibility issue.


Jeremy Zimmer
IT Field Technician
jeremyz at
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