- How do I contribute to this Wiki?
- What is Orca?
- Any idea of the system prerequisites?
- Why the name Orca?
- What's the schedule?
- How do I request a new feature?
- Where's the discussion list?
- Is braille supported?
- Is contracted braille supported?
- What voices are available?
- What languages are supported?
- How well does magnification work?
- How's web access coming along?
- Where can I find more information about Python?
- I would like to help with Orca code, what do I need to know before starting?
- Any good OCR packages available?
- Does Vinux work on my netbook?
- How do I get IBMTTS/TTSSYNTH/VOXIN/etc working?
- How do I install NVDA?
How do I contribute to this Wiki?
We love you! Thanks for contributing. Create a new account by visiting http://wiki.gnome.org/action/login/Orca?action=login. Login and you will find an "Edit" link near the top of the page. Follow this link and edit the content. Further instructions for WIKI syntax and editing can be found at the bottom of the page once you start editing it.
What is Orca?
!Orca is a flexible, extensible, and powerful assistive technology for people with visual impairments. Using various combinations of speech synthesis, braille, and magnification, Orca helps provide access to applications and toolkits that support the AT-SPI (e.g., the GNOME desktop). Orca is also free open source software.
Any idea of the system prerequisites?
A modern system will typically suffice. If you try to use a machine from the 1990's with very little RAM, well, expect it to work like a machine from the 1990's with very little RAM.
Why the name Orca?
One of the first DOS screen readers was Flipper by Omnichron corporation in Berkeley, CA. It was named Flipper in part because the blind wife of the programmer envisioned computers as being programmed by flipping switches (an accurate image of a bygone era). Then came another DOS screen reader from Henter-Joyce in Florida - "Jobs access With Speech" (or JAWS). Meanwhile in the UK we had the company Dolphin systems making their own DOS screen reader.
While there isn't otherwise an obvious connection between blindness and creatures from the sea, there is certainly a long tradition around it.
Hence the lore is that it is just keeping with the sea animal naming theme of screen readers. Plus, Orca is a lot tougher sounding than Nemo, Ariel, Willy, or Mr. Limpet.
What's the schedule?
Orca is part of the GNOME platform and Orca's releases are coupled with the releases of the GNOME platform. The GNOME platform releases on a 6 month cycle, with stable releases typically around the March and October timeframes. During the 6 month cycle, there are a number of "odd" releases, such as GOME 2.21.1, GNOME 2.21.2, etc. The stable releases that follow are "even" releases, such as GNOME 2.22.0, GNOME 2.22.1, etc.
How do I request a new feature?
Bugs and feature/enhancement requests (RFEs) should be reported to the GNOME Bug Tracking System. Patches are always welcome, and instructions for creating patches can be found in the GNOME introduction to Subversion (svn). You can also read more about Orca bugs and enhancements on the Orca Bugs page.
Where's the discussion list?
NOTE: there is a #orca IRC channel on irc.gnome.org. If you drop in the #orca room and nobody answers your questions, you're probably just talking to the software robots in the room, such as A11yLogger. Don't be dismayed. We are not ignoring you. The best way to reach the Orca community is via the Orca mailing list.
Is braille supported?
Yes! Braille is supported via BrlTTY and it is integrated well with Orca. BrlTTY offers support for nearly every refreshable braille display known to man. Please refer to the Braille page for more information.
Is contracted braille supported?
As of GNOME 2.22.0, Orca supports uncontracted braille.
What voices are available?
Orca provides interfaces to both gnome-speech and emacspeak speech services. There is also experimental support for Speech Dispatcher. As such, the available voices for Orca are only restricted by the speech engines supported by the available speech services. For free speech engines, you typically have a choice of the eSpeak, Festival, and FreeTTS speech engines. For commercial engines, you have a choice of additional engines such as Fonix DECtalk, Loquendo, Eloquence, Cepstral, IBMTTS, and others may be on the way soon. Keep an eye on the gnome-speech package for more progress in this area.
See also the Speech page for more information.
What languages are supported?
The GNOME Translation teams are composed of many passionate volunteers from around the world. These teams do a great job and keep an up-to-date status report. Please see the Orca translation status page for the large number of languages into which Orca has been translated. NOTE that the support for a language also depends upon a speech synthesis engine that supports the language whether BrlTTY has braille tables for the language or not.
How well does magnification work?
Orca currently uses the gnome-mag magnification service. As of this writing (GNOME 2.18), gnome-mag has incorporated some support for smoother full screen magnification, which relies upon newer extensions in the X Window System server. These extensions do not always function well on all platforms, so smooth full screen magnification may not always work.
How's web access coming along?
It's going well! See the Orca Firefox page for more information.
Where can I find more information about Python?
More information on Python can be found here:
I would like to help with Orca code, what do I need to know before starting?
Please see ../../CodingGuidance
Any good OCR packages available?
Here's what a few of our users have to say:
two OCR packages are gocr and ocrad, and both of these work reasonably well for me. The most important thing is to make sure the images are in the correct resolution (my scanners default is 600 but it needs to be 300, until I realised this I was lucky if it got one character correct on a page, where as now it is good enough to know what is meant to be there if there is any errors). You can pipe the output from the sane tools to these (eg. scanimage --resolution=300 | ocrad - ). There is also tesseract ocr, but I haven't got that working although it came from a commercial OCR package from the 1990s as I understand. Also if you want a GUI, then I think xsane provides a full system to scan and get OCR, although not as quick as typing in the piped command above (particularly if you create a script to shorten it).
tesseract-ocr is available under debian and is the greatest free ocr solution under linux.
Does Vinux work on my netbook?
this is the Orca list. You should ask Vinux-related questions at http://vinux.org.uk/
How do I get IBMTTS/TTSSYNTH/VOXIN/etc working?
It has been known to work, but you need to get the proper support from the people from whom you purchased the product.
How do I install NVDA?
This list is for discussing Orca and how to use it on the GNOME desktop. NVDA is for Windows. For NVDA questions, you should go to http://www.nvda-project.org/.
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.