[ubuntu-uk] suck it and see

Ian Pascoe softy.lofty.ilp at btinternet.com
Mon Jun 25 21:06:08 BST 2007

Hi Chris

Jaws is another common windows app that you're probably thinking of.  I use
Zx myself.

Now., thinking about what you're doing Chris, generally speaking  would a
partially sighted user be using the mouse to navigate their way around the
screen?  In most cases probably not.  We tend to rely on keyboard shortcuts
considerably more than a normal user does.  This is why I suggested turning
your monitor off as you can't use it then!

I use the standard setup in Fiesty for Orca and yes comparing it to Windows
equivilants it does seem to be way behind.  However, this is not necessarily
due to Orca or the other Assistive Technology programs used.

Because Linux based apps can be developed using many different tools and
libraries there are in fact very few that comply with the AT SPI guidelines.
Those that do are as accessible as those Windows equivilants - say OO versus
Office.  However, this is, as I said originally, where Windows has the
advantage over Linux.  Most Windows developed apps uses M$'s programming
languages and they have the M$ equivilants of AT-SPI pre-built so most apps
are accessible.

The other problem is that most projects give accessability just a passing
nod and when upgrades / enhancements are done it's one of the first things
to get broken, and can take a long time to get repaired.  However, this I am
glad to say appears to be gradually being given a higher priority.

But there are still some real big gafs includeing I'm afraid Ubuntu Studio
which is only minimally compliant.

The development work though is coming on a pace - those who have v6.10 using
the Festival speech engine are at a great disadvantage over those with 7.0.4
using eSpeek as the comprehension levels for the user have increased many
times with this change.

The Orca list is quite a busy one as you can probably imagine and
comparisons are always made to the Windows alternatives - wht they do
better., and what they don't.

For instance, in last year's Zx release was the first Windows program that
gave the user the ability to change the settings on the fly in relation to
the application that currently had focus.  Orca implemented this in Gnome
2.19.0.  Additionally, with the work being done on FF and the Geko rendering
engine used by FF, this will result in a far superior experience for the
Linux graphical browser than that for the Windows user using any app or
browser.  However, coincidentially this same engine is used for the Gnome
and Ubuntu help pages, but, for whatever reason, is not quite the same so
will need to be ported across to make these pages accessible again following
a break in the engine  at the beginning of last year that can only be fixed
by this port.

However, please don't push this under the doormat so to speak as there is
lots of work being done in the community worldwide to spread the use of
Ubuntu in it's standard format - ie without tweaks and knobbling.  for
instance there are a group of blind programmers in Bombay that are working
on improving accessibility to major standard apps within the Gnome desktop.


-----Original Message-----
From: ubuntu-uk-bounces at lists.ubuntu.com
[mailto:ubuntu-uk-bounces at lists.ubuntu.com]On Behalf Of Chris Rowson
Sent: 21 June 2007 23:19
To: British Ubuntu Talk
Subject: Re: [ubuntu-uk] suck it and see

> Me too, I tried installing it too and the installation finishes with
> You need to configure ORCA by changing /etc/orca.conf.
> Once you're happy with that setup, you can start the
> daemon by typing /etc/init.d/orca start''.
> When I try to configure /etc/orca.conf there's nothing there!

I stand corrected - typing orca creates the file.

On first impressions (and this may just be because I don't know how to
use the software properly) Orca seems pretty poor.

For instance, when I hover the mouse over a menu, Orca doesn't
verbalise anything - It only indicates the availability of a menu
option when I click on it to activate it.

Part of my day job, exposes me to some accessibility Windows software
like ZoomText (and I forget the other one we use tbh), but it seems
much more advanced than Orca.

Does Orca work better when it's all set up nicely then, or is it
really not very good?


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