Translations of this page: English, Portuguese Brazil, Spanish (external link)


Orca logo - Orca with a white cane

1. IMPORTANT: Regarding Fundraising Campaigns

2. About Orca

Wiki Revamp In Progress

The Orca wiki has, alas, gotten significantly out of date and otherwise messy. :( I, your humble project lead, am in the process of cleaning it up. In the meantime, please note that you will find much more current content in the Orca documentation:

Orca is a free, open source, flexible, and extensible screen reader that provides access to the graphical desktop via user-customizable combinations of speech and/or braille.

Orca works with applications and toolkits that support the assistive technology service provider interface (AT-SPI), which is the primary assistive technology infrastructure for Unix-like environments like Linux, OpenBSD or Solaris. Applications and toolkits supporting the AT-SPI include the GNOME GTK+ toolkit, the Java platform's Swing toolkit, SWT, OpenOffice/LibreOffice, Mozilla, and WebKitGtk. AT-SPI support for the KDE Qt toolkit is currently being pursued.

Thanks to the generous contributions of volunteers on the GNOME Translation Teams, Orca has been translated into many of the world's languages, with support for additional languages being added every day.

Here's some nice things users have to say about Orca:

  • "I LOVE YOU GYS :)" - Sorry to bother you guys but I wanted to commend you and your team on the wonderful job that you do keeping this project together. I am a blind computer science major who uses this software on a daily basis. Without this screenreader I would not be able to perform my profession and dreams, which is to one day to help develop the next gen screenreader for the blind computer user. What makes this project even better is the fact that it is freeeeeeee! wow. The donation of your time is wellllll appriciated by me as well as many other visually impaired linux users.

  • "Orca works great" - I've carefully tracked the performance of Orca vs it's strongest competitor for over a year now (that would be JAWS). I just want to say congratulations! While JAWS still holds a small lead, Orca has closed the gap rapidly. I know what it's like to be a developer - you hear all about the bugs, but when your code "just works", you never hear from users. Well, your program is working very well for me. Thanks.

Please join and participate on the Orca mailing list: it's a helpful, kind, and productive environment composed of users and developers. The mailing list archives also contain a great history of discussions. We try to capture the information on this WIKI, but we encourage you to search the archives for more information.

Operating system distributors -- please read the Smoke Test for information on verifying Orca works well with your distribution.

3. Audio Guides

Darragh Ó Héiligh started the movement for making audio tutorials introducing new users to gnu/linux with orca. He has not only produced several tutorials of his own, but has provided a home at for other users to contribute their own audio tutorials on a variety of computer and technology related subjects. The linux section contains several useful audio guides including:

* Installing and using the Vinux distribution (a gnu/linux release oriented towards users of accessible technology)

* Installing and using the Ubuntu distribution. (one of many common linux distributions including the Gnome desktop and Orca)

* Disabling Pulse audio in Ubuntu. (Some recent development versions of Ubuntu have presented users with minor technical bugs with audio support; this guide walks users through correcting these problems should they occur)

* Using Pidgin with Orca. (an instant messenger client)

Visitors to the site can make suggestions for new tutorials they would like to find and members may submit their own recordings for display through the lalrecordings website. Check the site for the newest up-to-date information.

Other members have also produced their own audio guides concerning various topics related to Orca.

Krishnakant has undertaken an extensive tutorial introducing users to the basics of Orca's screen reading capabilities and some general features of Gnome's built-in accessibility. The current files may be found at his site These guides provide a wealth of information to newcomers to gnu/linux and computer accessibility in general.

Michael Whapples has produced instructional materials walking users through the installation of GRML with the use of the speakup screen-reader and the download and configuration of the Gnome desktop and Orca. Currently, only the installation of GRML has been recorded as an audio guide; textual instructions have been provided for obtaining and configuring the graphical Gnome desktop.

Also, Ashley Cox has produced an audio tutorial concerning the installation of the Vinux distribution.

A note to Windows users. Most guides are produced in .mp3 format. To listen to the few that are produced in .ogg, you might need to download and install a compatible codec for the Windows Media Player or use an alternate listening program such as VLC.

4. Download/Installation

As of GNOME 2.16, Orca is a part of the GNOME platform. As a result, Orca is already provided by default on a number of operating system distributions, including Fedora and Ubuntu.

Please also refer to the Download/Installation page for detailed information on various distributions as well as installing Orca directly from source.

5. Configuration/Use

Please also refer to the Configuration/Use page for detailed information. Storm Dragon's blog also contains useful tips on using Orca.

6. Accessible Applications

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This page describes Accessible Applications support in Orca.

(This page needs a re-write. As of November 2011, the content was declared "Uber out of date" and the page wiped. To see the old content, click here)

7. How Can I Help?

There's a bunch you can do! Please refer to the How Can I Help page for detailed information.

8. More Information

The information on this page and the other Orca-related pages on this site are distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.


Projects/Orca (last edited 2015-12-08 11:37:12 by Rob Whyte)