Re: Orca menu placement and setup GUI in Ubuntu

First of all: Orca is now in Ubuntu main and is tagged for the desktop 
seed (will be installed by default). Yay! (should be in tomorrow's live 
CD build I guess) Also see:

Woo woo!  Thanks!

Menu placement:

My proposal to our desktop team will be that we create a sub-menu from 
the System -> Preferences menu titled 'Assistive Technology'. The 
current entry, 'Assistive Technology Preferences', will be moved onto 
the sub-menu (and probably renamed). We will also move the Orca launch 
entry (and onBoard) from 'Applications -> Accessibility' over to this 
location. We might possibly move keyboard modifiers here as well. Fedora 
has a similar sub-menu ATM.

It took me a long time to make the mental divide between the
"Preferences" and "Applications" menus.  I always found it confusing to
have to hunt for things in one spot and then the other, and then back to
the other.  So, I think the notion of putting all the a11y stuff under
one menu structure seems like an interesting idea.  It does mean that
one will face any pedantic pundits whose goals in life include enforcing
the rules of "Preferences" vs. "Applications".  :-)

At a higher level, I'm interested in the picture of a11y for the entire
desktop.  At the Boston 2006 GNOME Summit, we'll be spending an entire
day focusing on Accessibility, and I think this kind of discussion is
something that would be good for the Summit:

Starting and stopping Orca:

I think this area needs some more clarity. I guess the recommended way 
of starting Orca  is from a terminal, from Alt-F2 or from the 
Applications -> Accessibility menu, all via the 'orca' command.

We made the appropriate migration for GNOME 2.16 so that the
accessibility preferences will launch Orca instead of Gnopernicus.
So...the "traditional" way to launch the screen reader still works.
However, I think the notion of setting up AT preferences and launching
them in general needs to be better thought out.

First: how do you close Orca? I know Orca is configured to never die 
accidentally, which is good, but how do you then close it other than 
killing the watchdog script from a process list? Someone who is just 
having a casual look at it (for a review perhaps ...) would want to be 
able to close it and not have it spring to life again. I guess 
generally, this keep-alive daemon needs a bit more testing to make sure 
it is well-behaved.

Insert+Q is what you do to tell Orca to stop.  I supposed we (or someone
in the community :-)) could also add a "--stop" switch to the orca
launcher to kill orca.  Should be very easy to do.

This also links in to the question of the configuration GUI: if Orca is 
already running, how do you launch the config GUI (other than 
Insert+Shift)? Launching orca --gui-config does not seem to work. It 
seems reasonable to start Orca first and then launch the config utility 
afterwards, looking for things to tweak (or you might want to start the 
config utility first and then close it, with the option of leaving Orca 
running or stopping everything).

We have an HTTP server built into Orca.  A shell script could merely
send an HTTP request to Orca to tell it to show its configuration GUI
and/or reload the user preferences. This should be easy to do as well.

Perhaps the best option would be to write a small panel applet that 
would appear whenever Orca is started. Clicking on it would produce the 
following option:

 * Preferences (graphical)
 * Preferences (in terminal)
 * Help (link to local help and wiki)
 * Quit Orca

That way the settings would be easily discoverable, the status of Orca 
could be indicated by the panel icon (one version for active, one for 
muted, etc.)

While I kind of cringe at what the true utility of this would be for
people who cannot read the screen, it seems like it might have some
utility for people who need to use the magnifier.

The Orca Preferences window currently has 4 tabs with different 
settings. I would propose adding one more: Key-bindings. This would 
eventually let you set new key-bindings interactively, but for now could 
just contain a list of what they are and how to change them.

Our friends at ONCE have started looking into this.  There's some
refactoring that needs to be done to the Orca guts to enable this
(they've taken a pass at doing it with Orca 0.2.4), and it's on our list
of things to get in for Orca V1.0+.

OK, enough for now :)

It's a lot, but it's all good.  :-)  Is Ubuntu willing to roll their
sleeves up and get dirty with these?  I'd definitely be interested in
taking a look at patches and answering any questions you may have.   


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