Re: Carrying over ATs from GDM to GNOME session (brainstorm)

Personally, I think that a more serious problem is fixing
gnome-settings-daemon and control-center to allow AT programs to be
easily launched via hotkey and gestures.  Refer here:

This regression is indeed bad. It's fortunate that the bugs are logged, however (and thank you!), and the discussion of this thread can continue to focus on carrying over ATs from GDM to GNOME session.

The ability to "carry-over" AT programs from the login screen to the
user session is not such a needed feature if the user can easily launch
the AT programs once their session starts.

An issue which the carry over solution would solve is the very awkward method by which a11y needs to be enabled for the desktop. Unlike gdm, which will have a11y enabled by default, the user session has a11y disabled by default. So, if you can get an AT running during an inaccessible session, you really need to hope that the AT sets the a11y gconf flag and offers you with the ability to log out.

The carry over would help ensure that the a11y gconf flag is set for the user if it is needed, making the user session accessible. Imagine also that I needed high contrast large print inverse to log in. It sure seems awkward to have to go through the theme selection process all over again once I login. I think the carry over solution would be a much more pleasant out of the box experience.

Typically users only need to do this sort of boot-strapping on
first-login anyway, since users would typically would configure AT
programs to always launch in their user session on login.  So, after
first login, I am not sure the need to "carry over" AT settings even
makes sense.  Willie also seemed to express concern about this.

If the carry over feature were in place, I believe the most common place one would want to use gestures to launch an AT would be at the login screen. Once a user has logged in, they are likely to configure their session so the AT automatically starts when they log in.

The cases where I've seen end users wanting to start an AT from a keystroke is for cases where they really want to restart the AT. For example, sometimes the a11y infrastructure hangs or an app hangs or orca hangs. The quickest way to unhang the system can be to restart orca because orca clears up a bunch of stuff when it initializes. So, the user can create a custom keystroke to launch Orca via the System->Preferences->Keyboard_Shortcuts dialog.

However, I might be missing something, which is the case where a gnome-session is *always* running, such as in a public kiosk. It seems to me that the System->Preferences->Keyboard_Shortcuts dialog would provide at least some way to set up the AT's to launch via keystrokes. That would then leave the non-keyboard related gestures (e.g., the mouse enter/leave over boundaries gestures). I'm not 100% sure, but I think one of the more useful ones is the dwell gesture provided by MouseTweaks. So, that can be resolved by putting the MouseTweaks applet in the panel and hope/assume that the user has some way of moving the mouse when they approach one of these public kiosks.

Dealing with the complexities of making AT programs "carry over"
while honoring the users personal preferences seems hard to implement

Francesco's solution of offering a checkbox seems like it might work and be rather simple.

Note that this topic was discussed before, in 2007.  A patch for the
old GDM was written that implemented the feature you are describing.

However, as you can see from the bug comments, the patch was never
really finished, and some of the design issues were never resolved.
It would probably be good to look over that previous work to see
what was done before, and to check if any of the ideas might be
useful in this effort.

The work in the bug seems kind of interesting in that the carry over mechanism is basically an environment variable. I think a hard part would be to then turn this into something that makes sure the a11y settings are set appropriately and as one might expect. Note also that if the AT-SPI infrastructure is needed, the gconf key should be set before any GUI operations are done so that the appropriate a11y modules can be loaded by GTK+.

I'm curious if some sort of script/app run via an autostart *.desktop file during the gnome-session initialization phase might be able to perform some logic based upon the presence/absence (and value if present) of an environment variable.


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