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Downloading and Installing Orca

Orca Already Comes with the Operating System!

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.

Specific instructions for downloading and installing operating systems used by Orca users can be found at the following links:

Installing from Source

Orca is under continual development, so people may want to experiment with the latest source. For example, you may want to experiment with the latest support for Firefox or alternative web browsers.

The latest stable source can always be found at the GNOME FTP site. The brave can always obtain the latest 'trunk' source from the Orca module in the GNOME (git) source code repository.

WARNING WARNING WARNING: If you work from the bleeding edge, you will have access to all the latest and greatest stuff. Please keep in mind what you are doing, though. The bleeding edge is named appropriately.

Once you have obtained the Orca source you wish to work with, you can build and install it on your machine.

1. Setting Up Your Build Environment

The setup for the build environment differs between operating system distributions. Once you have the build environment set up, however, the procedure for building from source is the same.

1.1. Arch Linux Build Environment

Execute the following command as root to set up the build environment for Orca on Arch Linux. Punctuation matters with this command and you should type it exactly as written. When pacman asks which of the base-devel packages you want to install press enter to select all of them.

pacman --needed -S base-devel dbus-python git gnome-common gnome-doc-utils intltool pyatspi pygtk python2-gconf pyxdg

1.2. Open Indiana Build Environment

Instructions needed.

1.3. Ubuntu and Vinux 3.0 and Later Build Environment

Execute the following commands to set up the build environment for Orca on Ubuntu. Punctuation matters with these commands and you should type them exactly as written.

sudo apt-get build-dep gnome-orca
sudo apt-get install git-core gnome-common automake1.9 python-json

1.4. Fedora Core 6 or 7 Build Environment

(Contributed from community member Scott Berry -- thanks Scott!!!).

NOTE: it is highly recommended that you never use root as your regular username. Instead, use your username and su or sudo into your root account or you could inadvertently do some serious damage.

To install from git on Fedora Core 6 or 7 you must have all your ducks in a row. The first thing you want to do is ensure you have all packages. From experience so far this just requires gnome-common and intltool. Depending on which package manager you prefer (apt or yum) you may do the following:

Execute the following commands for apt (do not include the quotes when doing this):

apt-get install git gnome-common intltool

Apt will read the packages and if it finds the packages it will probably ask you if you would like to install the package. Just hit y for yes or n for no. This will download the packages and then commit the changes.

Yum is very close to the same syntax, only you use the following command (again do not use the quotes):

yum install git gnome-common intltool

This will in turn try to find the packages you are looking for. If found successfully then you will want to say y again for yes and allow it to download and commit the changes.

1.5. OpenSUSE 10.3 Build Environment

When OpenSUSE 10.3 has been installed from DVD, or you have elected to use the online repositories while installing from the downloaded CD, almost all the software you will need for installing Orca from source will already be available to you. The only package left to install is python-devel. Use the following command at the terminal while logged in as root.

yast -i python-devel

This launches the text version of yast, download the required package and install it as well as any other missing dependencies. If all goes well, you will be returned to the command prompt.

2. Installing the Latest AT-SPI Infrastructure (atk and at-spi)

AT-SPI stands for assistive technology service provider interface, which is the accessibility infrastructure for Gnome. Like Orca, the AT-SPI is frequently updated to include performance improvements such as Collections. To benefit from this work (and often for Orca to even work), you need to obtain/build/install the latest AT-SPI sources from the AT-SPI git trunk. In addition, atk, , which is another portion of the infrastructure, contains important bug fixes; it's necessary to obtain/build/install them, too. The general order in which things need to be built is as follows: atk, then at-spi, followed by orca.

The following commands provide the sequence of steps you need to follow to download AT-SPI sources from the git repository, build them, and then install them. Punctuation matters with these commands and you should type them exactly as written, with the exception of <<directoryholdingatspiregistry>>. Instead of <<directoryholdingatspiregistry>>, you need to specify the directory where the at-spi-registryd command is installed on your operating system:

NOTE: Orca is officially only supported with the version of GNOME it has been developed for. For example, Orca v2.22.x is supported only on GNOME 2.22. The team regularly builds Orca on previous versions of GNOME, however. For example, while developing Orca v2.22.0, the Orca team often used the GNOME 2.20.x desktop. Doing the following generally works, but you must do so at your own risk. We do not take responsibility for anyone trashing their setup. To determine which release of Gnome you are running, run gnome-about --verssion.

# The following is for Ubuntu users:
sudo apt-get build-dep libatk1.0-0 at-spi
sudo apt-get install libgconf2-dev

# Get, build, and install atk
git clone git://git.gnome.org/atk atk
cd atk
# optionally checkout the stable branch for your system.
# git checkout -b gnome-2-20 origin/gnome-2-20
./autogen.sh --prefix=/usr
make
sudo make install
cd ..

# Get, build, and install at-spi.  Replace the
# <<directoryholdingatspiregistry>> portion following
# the directions above.
#at-spi from git master is going to relocate itself by default so that  it does not conflict with the D-Bus form.  If you don't want it to  relocate itself, you need to put --disable-relocate on the autogen.sh  line.
git clone git://git.gnome.org/at-spi at-spi
cd at-spi
# optionally checkout the stable branch for your system.
# git checkout -b gnome-2-20 origin/gnome-2-20
./autogen.sh --prefix=/usr --sysconfdir=/etc --libexecdir=<<directoryholdingatspiregistry>>
make
sudo make install
cd ..

3. Obtaining Orca Source code then building and Installing

WARNING WARNING WARNING: If you work from the bleeding edge, you will have access to all the latest and greatest stuff. Please keep in mind what you are doing, though. The bleeding edge is named appropriately.

The latest development sources can be obtained from the Orca module in the GNOME git source code repository. You can download the sources using the git clone command as shown below. Once you have downloaded the sources from the git repository, the Orca sources will be in a new directory named orca. If you want to update your sources from the latest git repository, you can cd to the orca directory and enter git pull. This will pull the latest sources from the git repository.

After you've downloaded the source from the Gnome git (git) repository, you need to cd to the resulting directory and execute the commands needed to build and install Orca.

The following commands provide the sequence of steps you need to follow to download Orca sources from the git repository, build them, and then install them. Punctuation matters with these commands and you should type them exactly as written.

git clone git://git.gnome.org/orca orca
cd orca
for the moment Orca has branched into two versions. the latest Orca from master is for use with Gnome 3. For anyone using the 2.X version of Gnome there is now the orca-xdesktop branch. It contains the latest fixes but it still works with gnome 2.X. If you are unsure which version of Gnome you have open a terminal and type:
gnome-about --version
If you are using version 3.X you can pull from the master branch, this is the default behavior. If you are using 2.X you should change to the xdesktop branch. To do so type:
git checkout orca-xdesktop
# optionally checkout the stable branch for your system.
# git checkout -b gnome-2-20 origin/gnome-2-20
./autogen.sh
make
sudo make install

Let's break this down a bit so you know what you are doing here.

  1. git is a repository of bleeding edge source code for Orca so you will only want to get these if you are not feint of heart like us computer junkies. Grin!
  2. git clone git://git.gnome.org/orca orca allows you to get the bleeding edge. git is set up in directories and there are many on Gnome as Gnome has many packages that work with it. Pay attention to what you type or you could inadvertently get the wrong git repository! Once you have typed this command, all the source are downloaded to the orca directory.

  3. Note: if git fails to pull from the main repository, you can always attempt to use the mirror. Instead of git clone git://git.gnome.org/orca orca use git clone  git://git-mirror.gnome.org/git/orca orca to pull orca sources from the mirror repository.

  4. To get into the orca directory, you type cd orca. If you ever want to update the sources from git, you can cd to this directory in the future and type git pull. Any new files and updated files will be downloaded to your machine.

  5. NOTE: if you want the latest stable source, you can always grab them from a stable branch. For example, the Orca development team continually checks in stable code to the gnome-2-20 branch for GNOME 2.20.x releases and the gnome-2-22 branch for GNOME 2.22.x releases. To get the gnome-2-20 branch, cd into the orca directory and use the following command to checkout the 2-20 branch git checkout -b origin/gnome-2-20 after you clone the main orca entry. Once in the orca directory git branch -r will display all available branches for checkout. Notice that once you checkout a separate branch, you must update with git pull . instead of just git pull (notice the addition of a decimal point).

  6. ./autogen.sh enables all the compilers and decides how the program will be assembled in order for you to use it.

  7. make actually goes in and out of directories getting everything set up to install for us.

  8. If the make succeeded, sudo make install installs Orca for you under /usr/local, and the Orca executable will be available under /usr/local/bin/orca.

At this point, Orca should be installed on your machine and you are now ready to move onto the next step: configuration and use. Note that on some systems (e.g., Fedora) it doesn't change the desktop shortcut for Orca so you need to log in to GNOME and then hit Alt+F2 to get to the run dialog box. Then, type orca and press Return.

NOTE: The above commands install Orca under /usr/local/bin/orca. As long as your PATH environment variable includes /usr/local/bin ahead of /usr/bin, you should pick up the Orca you just built and installed. If your PATH environment variable doesn't include /usr/local/bin ahead of /usr/bin, you may end up using an old Orca. You can tell which version of Orca you are using by typing orca --version. You can also tell which version of the Orca source you pulled from the git repository by typing git status | head -1 when you are in the orca source directory that you pulled from git using the command above.

Speech, Braille, and Magnification

Orca does not ship with a speech synthesizer, braille drivers, or a magnifier. Instead, Orca relies upon system services to be installed on the machine. On Open Solaris and Linux, these services typically come for free (just like Orca). Please refer to the following pages for 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/DownloadInstall (last edited 2015-12-09 03:43:52 by Rob Whyte)