BRLTTY is a background process (daemon) which provides access to the Linux/Unix console (when in text mode) for a blind person using a refreshable braille display. It drives the braille display, and provides complete screen review functionality. Some speech capability has also been incorporated.


BRLTTY is just as effective and reliable as the DOS programs, perhaps even more so! It’s definitely more flexible.

The BRLTTY daemon can be launched at system startup, thus it’s always on to assist you when logging in, and allows the reading of console messages.

BRLTTY allows full use of the virtual terminal feature of the Linux console driver. Blind users will discover that using several virtual terminals is very effective.

Since it interfaces directly with the console driver, BRLTTY allows you to use the scroll back buffer. This makes it possible, for example, to read all of the boot messages once BRLTTY has started up.

BRLTTY can be used in single user mode.

BRLTTY is small enough to fit comfortably on a root diskette.

BRLTTY can handle those video modes which offer more columns and/or rows than 80×25.

You can even use dosemu with BRLTTY. The only restrictions are that cursor routing, arrow key simulation, and cut & paste don’t work (yet) when using its raw keyboard mode.

BRLTTY is adequate for performing system administration tasks.


Full implementation of the usual screen review facilities.

Choice between `block’, `underline’, or `no’ cursor.

Optional `underline’ to indicate specially highlighted text.

Optional use of `blinking’ (rates individually settable) for cursor, special highlighting underline, and/or capital letters.

Screen freezing for leisurely review.

Intelligent cursor routing, allowing easy fetching of cursor within text editors, web browsers, etc., without moving ones hands from the braille display.

A cut & paste function (linear or rectangular) which is particularly useful for copying long file names, copying text between virtual terminals, entering complicated commands, etc.

Table driven, in-line, contracted braille (English, French, and German provided).

Support for multiple braille codes.

Ability to identify an unknown character.

Ability to inspect character highlighting.

An on-line help facility for commands.

A preferences menu.

Basic speech support.

Modular design allowing relatively easy addition of drivers for other braille displays and speech synthesizers.

An application programming interface.