My Experience with Stock Ubuntu 11.04 and accessibility

Dave Hunt ka1cey at
Mon May 23 20:09:31 UTC 2011

Below, please find my impressions of running this release.  I'm using an 
Asus 1015PE (a netbook) as my work-a-day system.  Suggestions and 
comments welcome!

  I am running Ubuntu 11.04, but still with classic Gnome.  Unlike on 
the live cd, there are no crashes like we saw, now that I've installed 
it to hard drive.  The machine is not vinucized; that is, I did an 
eyes-free, independent install from the stock 11.04 image.  Orca got 
screwed up during the animated slide show that runs while the install is 
in progress.  When I got to the final step, I turned Orca off and hit 
the 'install' button.  Then, I just walked away, and came back to the 
machine after about a half-hour.  I assumed all was ready, ejected the 
usb drive, and rebooted.  To my delight, The narwhale came up talking, 
on the gdm screen.

Access to the Indicator Applet (the thing used for setting up wifi, 
checking the battery, etc, is a bit flaky, but, fortunately, one doesn't 
need to play with the thing often.  I activated keyboard shortcuts for 
adjusting volume.  Next, I added the apt repositories for the Orca daily 
builds, installed Thunderbird, Drobbox, and a few other things I like.  
In every stock Ubuntu system I've ever used, Orca won't give access to 
the gui admin apps, unless one runs them from the terminal, with sudo.

The next thing I noticed was that the skype api plugin for empathy and 
pidgin does not work fully in Natty.  I can make calls, send and receive 
text messages, but cannot accept incoming calls.  I hear the ring tone, 
see the 'accept' dialogue, but attempts to accept do nothing.

I have about 12 gb of tunes, mostly in 'mp3' files.  In prior Ubuntu 
distros, I could manage this music collection with the Rhythmbox 
application.  In 11.04, Banshee is the new media player. Before I loaded 
my music collection, Banshee could open and play streams.  Now that the 
music is in place, Banshee will not fully open, and attempts to run it 
result in a frozen X session.  I installed Rhythmbox for comparison.  
Rhythmbox will browse my files, create the indices, and play the music.  
It will not, however, save  the database for future sessions.

Finally, Something I unwittingly did on Saturday has resulted in a 
system in which Orca will, sometimes, not start post-login.  I get the 
login drums and talking gdm screen.  I log in.  I get the post-login 
music, then, sometimes, nothing.  If I wait a minute or more, then 
manually start Orca, it still won't go.  I have to pull the switch and 
restart; maybe it will work.

Well, there, you have it!  I'm not sure whether I'll down-grade, change 
distros, or just make this thing work.  I have a stubborn streak that 
makes the third option most appealing.


Dave Hunt

Twitter and Skype:  wx1gdave
Tel:  617 319 4491

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