Announcing Orca v1.0.0

Willie Walker William.Walker at Sun.COM
Tue Sep 5 14:17:34 BST 2006

* What is Orca?

Orca is a free, open source, flexible, and extensible screen reader
that provides access to the graphical desktop via user-customizable
combinations of speech, braille, and/or magnification.  Orca has been
been developed by the Sun Microsystems, Inc., Accessibility Program
Office via continued engagement with its end users.  In fact, the user
interface designer for Orca is also a user.

Orca works with applications and toolkits that support the assistive
technology service provider interface (AT-SPI), which is the primary
assistive technology infrastructure for the Solaris and Linux
operating environments.  Applications and toolkits supporting the
AT-SPI include the GNOME GTK+ toolkit, the Java platform's Swing
toolkit, OpenOffice, and Mozilla.  AT-SPI support for the KDE Qt
toolkit is currently being pursued.

The focus for Orca v1.0.0 has been to provide usable access to key
office productivity applications, including the following:

Application Class        Application
-----------------        -----------
Graphical Desktop        GNOME 2.16 Desktop
Help                     yelp v2.16
Simple Text Editing      gedit v2.16
Terminal                 gnome-terminal v2.16
E-mail                   evolution v2.8
Calendar                 evolution v2.8
Contact Management       evolution v2.8
Instant Messaging        gaim v1.5.1 or better
Text Document Content    OpenOffice v2.0.4 or StarOffice PP4
Spreadsheet Content      OpenOffice v2.0.4 or StarOffice PP4

Notably absent from this list are the following applications that we
plan to address with Orca v1.1 (to be released in the GNOME 2.18 time

* Web Content Accessibility: while Orca can provide access to
  relatively simple web pages via the Firefox v2.0 web browser, the
  team is working closely with the Firefox team to focus on providing
  compelling access to web content for Firefox v3.0.  Firefox v3.0 is
  scheduled for Spring 2007, but several development releases of
  Firefox v3.0 and Orca's support for Firefox v3.0 will be available
  prior to the "official" release.  We encourage Orca users to test
  these releases and provide us with feedback.

* PDF Document Accessibility: the Orca team is working with Adobe to
  identify and fix accessibility issues with the Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  We expect to see these issues resolved soon.  Orca should "just
  work" with the fixed Adobe Acrobat Reader, but we will release a new
  version of Orca if changes are necessary.

* Presentation Content ("Slide Shows"): the Orca team focused on what
  our users specified as the most important content for OpenOffice and
  StarOffice: text documents and spreadsheets.  For v1.1, we plan on
  providing more compelling access to these features as well as access
  to the generation and reading of overhead presentations.

See also for detailed English and Spanish
information on Orca, including how to run Orca, how to communicate
with the Orca user community, and where to log bugs and feature
requests.  The impatient can also take a look at the end of*checkout*/orca/README for a brief
overview of running Orca.

* What's changed for Orca v1.0.0?

This is the first "official" release of Orca.  For those following the
early development releases of Orca, however, we've made the following
changes since Orca v0.9.0:

* Updates to User's Guide, Architecture, Requirements, and Script
  Writing Guide.

* Fix for bug 353467: run in a terminal if we detect text setup will
  be used.

* Fix for bug 353476: apply better fallback algorithm to find a
  working synthesis engine.
* Fix for bug 352578: ensure that checking/unchecking speech in the
  configuration GUI does the appropriate thing.

* Re-fixed bug 350854 and fix for bug 353268: do not double read lines
  in OpenOffice and also make sure focus is properly handled in gedit
  after a window maximize.

* Fix for bug 353237: prevent COMM_FAILURE messages when trying to get
  the object state (thanks Oana from Baum!).

* Fix for bug 352866: add "-q" and "--quit" options to orca script to
  allow one to more easily kill orca (thanks Javier from ONCE!).

* Fix for bug 352240: prevent wrong object report for Java
  applications in case of different event ordering (thanks Oana from

* Fix for bug 352257: improved isSameObject() function (thanks Oana
  from Baum!).

* Fix for bug 352254: better handling of expand/collapse events for the
  Java platform (thanks Oana from Baum!).

* Translations:  

    bg      Bulgarian            Alexander Shopov, Rostislav Raykov,
                                 Vladimir Petkov, and Iassen Pramatarov
    bn      Bengali              Runa Bhattacharjee
    bn_IN   Bengali              Runa Bhattacharjee
    ca      Catalan              Gil Forcada 
                                 and Josep Puigdemont i Casamajó 
    cs      Czech                Miloslav Trmac
    cy      Welsh                Rhys Jones
    de      German               Hendrik Brandt
    dz      Dzongkha             Guntupalli Karunakar
    el      Greek                Nikos Charonitakis
    en_CA   English/Canada       Adam Weinberger
    en_GB   English/British      David Lodge and Gareth Owen
    es      Spanish              Francisco Javier F. Serrador 
                                 and Maria Majadas
    eu      Basque               Iñaki Larrañaga Murgoitio
    fi      Finnish              Ilkka Tuohela
    fr      French               Cedric Corazza, Robert-André Mauchin, 
                                 and Christophe Merlet
    gu      Gujarati             Ankit Patel
    hi      Hindi                Rajesh Ranjan
    it      Italian              Aldo Giambelluca and Alessio Frusciante
    ja      Japanese             Satoru Satoh
    ko      Korean               Changwoo Ryu
    lt      Lithuanian           Žygimantas Beručka 
                                 and Gintautas Miliauskas
    lv      Latvian              Raivis Dejus
    mk      Macedonian           Jovan Naumovski
    ml      Malayalam            Ani Peter
    mr      Marathi              Rahul Bhalerao
    nb      Norwegian Bokmål     Kjartan Maraas and Sigurd Gartmann
    ne      Nepali               Pawan Chitrakar 
                                 and Shiva Prasad Pokharel
    nl      Dutch                Tino Meinen, Elros Cyriatan, 
                                 Taco Witte, and Vincent van Adrighem
    or      Oriya                Subhransu Behera
    pa      Punjabi              Amanpreet Singh Alam
    pt_BR   Brazilian Portuguese Raphael Higino, Gustavo Noronha Silva,
                                 and Estêvão Samuel Procópio
    pt      Portuguese           Duarte Loreto
    ru      Russian              Nickolay V. Shmyrev
    rw      Kinyarwanda          Steve Murphy, Philibert Ndandali,
                                 Viateur Mugenzi, Noëlla Mupole,
                                 Carole Karema, 
                                 Jean Baptiste Ngendahayo,
                                 Augustin Kiberwa, 
                                 and Donatien Nsengiyumva
    sr at Latn Serbian              Danilo Šegan
    sr      Serbian              Danilo Šegan
    sv      Swedish              Christian Rose and Daniel Nylander
    ta      Tamil                I. Felix
    uk      Ukrainian            Maxim Dziumanenko
    vi      Vietnamese           Clytie Siddall
    zh_CN   Simplified Chinese   Funda Wang and Li Shaojie
    zh_HK   Traditional Chinese  Chao-Hsiung Liao and Woodman Tuen
    zh_TW   Traditional Chinese  Chao-Hsiung Liao and Woodman Tuen

* THANKS!!!!

Many thanks to our management at Sun for believing in us and allowing
us to make Orca happen.  Many thanks also to Marc Mulcahy for starting
the Orca prototype and showing the promise of scripting.

Many thanks to our friends at Baum for sharing their knowledge and
experiences from the Gnopernicus project.  Their early involvement
helped kick start the Orca project.  Many thanks to Baum as well
for providing improved support for the Java platform and for their
numerous fixes and patches.  They are a great team!

Many thanks to the growing and thriving Orca community for their
support and testing of all the early Orca development releases.  Of
special note is Joanmarie Diggs from the Carroll Center for the Blind.
Joanie's continued testing and constructive criticism have helped us

Many thanks to the Ubuntu accessibility team for their continued
support of Orca and for making it easily available to end users.  The
Ubuntu Edgy model helped get Orca into many people's hands, providing
us with good feedback on where we've done things right and where there
is room for improvement.

Many thanks to Al Puzzuoli for his continued work on the Orca WIKI:  Al's selfless contributions, support,
and ability to write from an end-user's perspective have proven

Many thanks to Francisco Javier Dorado Martínez from ONCE, who is
keeper of the Spanish translation of Orca:  Javier's support
and fixes for Orca have also been of exceptional use.

Many thanks to T.V. Raman for his contributions to the support for
Emacspeak speech servers.

Many thanks to the translators who have worked so hard to
translate Orca into over 40 locales.  You guys rock!

Finally, many thanks to the GNOME community and team for accepting 
Orca into GNOME 2.16.

* Where can I get it?

Orca is part of the GNOME 2.16 platform and should be available in
binary form from all distributions supporting GNOME 2.16.  These 
include (either now or in the very near future) Solaris, Ubuntu, 
and Fedora.

You can also obtain Orca in source code form at the following URL:

>From the Sun Microsystems, Inc., Accessibility Program Office,

Willie Walker, Project Lead
Mike Pedersen, User Interface Design
Rich Burridge, Core Development and Scripting
Lynn Monsanto, Java Platform Support
Michele Budris, Program Management

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