Getting the Orca Screen-Reader to work under Plasma 5

In case some readers might not know, even though computing is heavily visual, certain advanced desktop-managers can be set up for impaired people to use – which also falls under the category of “Accessibility”. This includes the ability of the computer to speak a robotic description of what’s happening on the screen, in case a user can hear, but not see properly.

There are some users who feel they should stick with Windows, because Accessibility can be so hard to set up under Linux.

There are other users who are sorry they every clicked on “Accessibility”, because now they cannot turn it off.

If a visually-impaired user wants Accessibility set up on a Linux computer, I’d definitely suggest letting a trusted other person set it up, because until it’s set up, complicated things may need to be done, and accessibility will not be set up, so that the end-user will not benefit from Accessibility, while trying to set it up.

Some regular users find screen-readers trying for their patience, because of the fast, robotic voice, until they manage to shut it down again. Personally, I only find screen-readers trying, If I happen to have set one up late at night, because the voice could cause some sort of noise-complaint from my neighbors, droning on until I manage to disable it again. In the middle of the day, I don’t find these experiments trying.

I guess that a good question which some people might ask me, would be why I even do such an experiment, given that I’m not visually impaired and don’t need it. And what I do is set everything up until it works, and then disable it again.

On my recently-installed Debian / Stretch computer named ‘Plato’, which is also running Plasma 5 as its desktop-manager, I just did manage to get this feature to work, and then to disable it again.

(Updated 15h50, 1/17/2018 : )

The first thing I had to do, was install a long list of packages. The list below includes what was installed, but it should not really be necessary to give the command to the package-manager manually, to install everything here, because some of these packages will follow as dependencies from other packages. But here is a roundabout list:

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Getting Some Software To Run On My Linux Tablet, which Was Not Meant To Run

One of the computing adventures which I’ve been blogging about, is that I’ve been able to install a Linux Guest System, under the Android Host System, on my Samsung Galaxy Tab S, First-Generation tablet. I use the two Android apps, ‘GNURoot’ and ‘XSDL’, which can be obtained from Google Play, and which do not require root.

In this posting, I had as a message to my readers, that certain types of Linux applications are poor candidates for this sort of environment – a chroot-Linux-Shell, that connects externally to an X-server, which in turn seems to provide pure X-server protocol as well as a port, to connect PulseAudio clients to.

But in the same posting, I had named a specific Linux-application, which would solve each of the two purposes, and which in my opinion at the time, might have the best chances to run – assuming that any have a chance to run:

  1. ‘mhWaveEdit’
  2. LiVES

As some of my readers might expect, since that posting, I have nevertheless pressed ahead, and experimented with installing each of these Linux-applications, on the guest-system.

Long story short, I found that mhWaveEdit seems to work fine, and installed effortlessly, while LiVES does not.

screenshot_2017-10-04-01-27-35

One observation which I’ve made, is that the PulseAudio server built-in to the Android app ‘XSDL’, offers sound output, but not sound input. Hence, I cannot connect to the mike, which is built-in to the tablet. But this is a very minor issue, since I’ve exceeded typical usage-scenarios in what I’ve already been able to do.

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The Sort Of Software that will Not Run, on my Linux Tablet

In this posting I wrote, that I had installed Linux in a chroot-environment, on my old Samsung Galaxy Tab S, First Generation tablet, which remains an Android-based tablet. I did this specifically using the apps from the Google play store, named ‘GNURoot’ and ‘XSDL’, which do not require root.

Here, I gave a compendium of Linux-applications which do run in the resulting Linux guest-system.

I think that I need to point out a broad category of Linux applications that will always remain poor choices:

  • Audio Editors,
  • Video Editors.

The problem with any Audio Editor, is that it will eventually need to input and output Audio – not just edit sound files – and any Video Editor, needs to give a preview of all its video-clips – not just edit video files. This seems like a silly thing to write, but is non-trivial in my present context.

I have taken a Linux engine – GNURoot – and connected it to an externally-supplied X-server emulation – XSDL. The pipeline between these two Android apps is very narrow. It consists of X-server protocol – which is excellent and rendering text and GUIs, of shared memory at its maximum, and of a PulseAudio server, visible on the Linux side as such, but collectively running on the Android side as an SDL client.

I have no way to provide OpenGL or SDL on the Linux-side. What this means, is that virtually any non-linear video editor will want to see both installed on the Linux side, while neither is provided.

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