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Accessibility on Linux

Published on Tuesday August 23, 2011 by Frederik Gladhorn in Accessibility | Comments

We are happy to give you a release of the Qt Accessiblity bridge for Linux. The bridge provides the platform integration with the platform's accessibility interface. It is still tagged as alpha but works surprisingly well here, so we'd like to get feedback from you.

The biggest change compared to earlier version is improvements in the way DBus is used. This leads to huge improvements when it comes to memory and cpu.

In order to play nice and make Qt applications accessible we chose to implement AT-SPI2 which is used by GNOME so that Qt, KDE and GNOME applications will be accessible in the same way with the same tools. The first goal is to get a nice experience with Orca, the GNOME screen reader.

Get it:
You need a working AT-SPI2 stack on your distro of choice. Chances are that there are packages. You probably need packages like at-spi2-core, at-spi2-atk, python-pyatspi2 and Orca (screen reader).

It may be required to tell GNOME to switch over to using at-spi2 instead of 1.

gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/interface/at-spi-dbus --type bool true
gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/interface/at-spi-corba --type bool false

For GNOME apps to be accessible you may need:

export GTK_MODULES=gail:atk-bridge

Once you have the GNOME apps working, get Qt up and running:
Use Qt from gitorious and make sure to use the 4.8 branch.
Install the bridge from gitorious, use the master branch.

In order to let Qt load the bridge you need to export an environment variable:

export QT_ACCESSIBILITY=1

And voila! Orca should now happily read Qt applications :)

If you find things that don't quite work yet (such as expanding tree cells being rather not very reliable), head over to bugreports.qt.nokia.com and file a bug.

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