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Quick Tip: Enable Bash Shell in Windows 10

Windows has made huge advancements in innovation since the release of Windows 10, and this continues with the Anniversary update. A great feature that was added with this update was the ability to install the Bash Shell to use with Windows instead of the standard Windows command prompt.

The Bash Shell is a common command line interface for users to complete tasks on Linux. It is completely text based, and it offers color coding of folders and files. Tasks are completed by typing in commands instead of using the mouse to find and activate items.

Setting up Bash on Windows 10

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Find Updates and Security
  3. Find the option that says, “For Developers.”
  4. Enable Developer Mode
  5. You can now close settings
  6. Open Control Panel
  7. Navigate to programs
  8. Activate Turn Windows Features On or Off
  9. Find the check box that says, “Enable Windows Subsystem for Linux.”
  10. Activate OK
  11. When prompted, restart your PC
  12. Once your computer has restarted, Open the command line from the Start Menu, or by typing cmd in the search and press enter.
  13. Once the command line is open, type the word bash and press enter.
  14. Windows will ask you if you would like to install Bash and all you need to do is press y and enter.

The final process will take some time to complete, but will have bash ready to go on your PC once it does.

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iTerm2 for Mac – a very decent terminal replacement

A friend told me about an app today that I wanted to try called iTerm2 for the Mac. This app is a terminal replacement app that lets you write to the Macintosh terminal and execute commands with text. While this is a developer based app I feel it is worth mentioning here at the iAccessibility report as we review all sorts of apps for different platforms.

How does iTerm2 work?

iTerm2 for Mac opens an area where you can write commands to the computer just like the built in Apple terminal application. The advantages of iTerm2 is that it allows for recappable hotkeys, and for the user to open more than one tab, which the terminal app does not do. There are probably many more features to this app, but these are a huge highlight to its benefits over the built in app.

Accessibility

So the big question is, Can VoiceOver work with this app? The surprising answer here is yes. When I opened the iTerm2 app I turned on VoiceOver and VO read the entire screen to start. VoiceOver would then read back what I typed, and then would read the output to that when I pressed enter to execute the command. This is very nice when you try to list the contents of a folder or when you are doing something that you need to have read immediately. For low vision users the app is in white on black to start, so it is a very high contrast solution for low vision users.

Conclusion

While there is already a built in app for administrating the computer from the command line, iTerm 2 provides more features and the ability for power users to work more effectively. This app also offers more blind and low vision users the ability to use a terminal app with high contrast and VoiceOver support.