initramfs-tools/plymouth: cryptroot option for blind users

Luke Yelavich themuso at
Sat Feb 13 01:34:49 GMT 2010

On Sat, Feb 13, 2010 at 10:40:58AM EST, Jeremy Zimmer wrote:
> 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
> it.
> 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
> /etc/initramfs-tool/conf.d/accessibility
> 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

This is a good idea, and I could see about getting it implemented, however, the PC speaker is becoming increasingly hard to find on new machines, and/or the PC speaker is muted. There is no way to ensure a blind person who wants to use cryptroot will be able to make use of these tones.

A better solution would be to use the sound card, however that is a lot more work, and bloats the initramfs to the point where it might be troublesome to load. However the initramfs would only be filled with soundcard bits if accessibility was required.

Anyway, it might be too late for lucid, but I'll certainly see what can be done for the next Ubuntu release, 10.10.


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