I am revisiting Orca after about a 12 month break during which time I have been spending time with OSX Leopard and of course Windows in my day job.
Normally I would have selected Ubuntu for this task, however the 8.10 installation CD disagrees with the graphics chipset on my motherboard, so I decided to go with OpenSolaris 2008.11 instead, mainly because I wanted to tinker with ZFS.
Firstly I have to say I think the OpenSolaris guys have done a great job of creating a very accessible live CD and installation system, and I had no problems installing it with out any sighted assistance.
I was also very impressed with Orca's functionality with most of the applications pre-installed on the system, including of course Firefox, Eclipse and OpenOffice.
I have still to decide between Evolution and Thunderbird for my email, neither of which quite have the perfect accessibility of Apple Mail with VoiceOver, but I'm sure I'll get there in the end.
I did want to enquire as to the responsiveness of Orca however, as it seems a bit sluggish, even though it is running on a core2 duo 3.13 GHZ with 4GB of ram at it's disposal.
I am just running the default Orca that installed with OpenSolaris, however I do intend to grab the version out of SVN at some point in the near future.
I am also using espeak as installed with the OS, although I am considering purchasing a license of Dectalk for Solaris.
I was wondering if anyone had any optimization tips however, to make Orca a bit more responsive.
Things of particular note are on the initial screen when Orca first loads and asks you to select the language, you can't silence speech and have to wait for it to read the entire list.
Also when I have a bash prompt open and I have a lot of text scrolling past, it is very hard to silence Orca even after tabbing away from that window.
In a document when arrowing down, there is a definite lag between what I'm doing with the keyboard and what is being spoken.
I recall quite some time ago discussions about speech dispatcher performing better than Gnome Speech but am not sure if that is still the case.
I'd be interested to hear anyone's feedback on this issue, because while I find Orca to be quite functional and feel I could quite happily use OpenSolaris as my primary OS, I think the laggyness would be enough to drive me back to something I can more quickly navigate around in.
Thanks to the Orca development team on doing such an amazing job and getting Orca where it is today, your efforts are very much appreciated.