Orca 2.24 Road Map

With GNOME 2.20 and GNOME 2.22, the user base of Orca has grown considerably and we continue to learn about things important to end users. With GNOME 2.24, we plan to continue fixing bugs and increasing the quantity and quality of our regression tests. We also plan to focus on improving Java platform support, improve OpenOffice support across the board, and also want to do an accessible install for Sun's "Project Indiana". We also want to provide some additional improvements for people with low vision and also look at more support for controlling the GUI directly from the braille display.

1. Harden

All Orca Bugs and Enhancement Requests are maintained in the GNOME Bugzilla Database. We regularly keep the "Target" up to date on each bug to track the planned work.

Part of this hardening work will include continued work on the regression tests, with a goal of getting regular nightly runs of all the tests (we're getting there).


2. Improve Documentation

We've been flying very very fast and the code base has undergone a lot of churn, especially since the migration to pyatspi. We plan to take some time to update the documentation as well as experiment with providing alternative forms of tutorials, such as movies to describe how we debug and script for Orca.


  • (2008-05-06) Migration of Orca specification from DocBook to WIKI underway.

  • (2008-05-06) Script repackaging effort almost done.

  • (2008-05-08) Ripped user experience docs and specification out of DocBook now that it is on the WIKI. The DocBook files now consist of an internals document and a user guide. Both are out of date.

  • TODO:
    • (2008-05-06) MIKE to update specs for verbalized links, text selection presentation, mapping of BrlTTY commands to Orca actions.
    • RICH will do optional video task as time permits
    • WILLIE needs to update the internals and script writing portions of the DocBook files

    • ??? needs to create the user guide - see bug 526698 for more info

3. Accessible Help

We need an accessible help system. The current goal is to wait for the Yelp maintainers to migrate to the Gecko engine used by Firefox 3 and then work to improve the overall support.


4. Java platform support

There are a number of issues with the Java platform support, the main problem being an issue with the Python-to-CORBA communication. The main focus for GNOME 2.24 will be to get past the core issues and work to get fundamental access to the Swing toolkit working well. If we achieve this and still have time, we will look more at issues with the Java Control Panel and the Sun Download Manager. No focus on Net Beans is planned at this time.


  • (2008-05-05) Willie has a commitment from Jeff Cai to look into the stack trace problem that can be reproduced by running Orca, SwingSet2, pressing Alt+f, and arrowing left/right across the menu items. This seems to be a good way to show a reliable failure between Java and Orca.

  • TODO:
    • (2008-05-05) WILLIE waiting on Jeff Cai to fix bug.

5. OpenOffice

We furthered our good relationship with the OpenOffice team at CSUN '08 this year and it turns out that the OOo 3.0 and GNOME 2.24 schedules align much better. As a result, we will have better hope of addressing a lot of the OpenOffice enhancements and bugs we know about. With cooperation from the OOo team, we hope to provide access to the more popular components of the OOo suite: writer, calc, impress. The database component will likely not get attention unless a lot of users ask for it.


  • (2008-05-05) OOo seems to have taken a step backwards. The accessibility hierarchy seems to be broken in dialogs now.
  • (2008-05-06) Willie communication with Malte regarding the list of bugs we need fixed. Malte is working with the OOo team to mark bugs for OOo 3.0 release. Willie working to get commitment on actually meeting the 3.0 target.
  • TODO:
    • (2008-05-05) MIKE to reproduce OOo issues reported with spell checking and inaccessible dialogs reported by Daniel Dalton

    • (2008-05-06) RICH is currently working on bugs 517408 and 517127 for improving text selection presentation.

    • (2008-05-06) WILLIE to ping Malte again.
    • ALL: Given the OOo regressions, we may need to re-evaluate our ability to address ooimpress for GNOME 2.24.

6. Accessible Install for "Project Indiana"

In January '08, we did a feasibility study and prototype of an accessible install for "Project Indiana". The results were very promising, so we plan to target the fall release of Indiana as our first release that includes an accessible install. This is not a promise, but we will be working hard on it.


  • (2008-04-16) eSpeak module written for Sun's Audio Device Architecture (SADA), released with eSpeak 1.37.
  • (2008-04-17) SFEespeak.spec updated for eSpeak 1.37.

  • (2008-04-21) SUNWgnome-a11y-speech.spec updated to automatically build/package eSpeak driver if eSpeak is present on build machine.

  • (2008-04-25) OSR process started for eSpeak, expected completion is 2008-05-22. Awaiting legal review.
  • TODO:
    • (2008-05-06) WILLIE to track OSR process (above)
    • (2008-05-06) WILLIE needs to ramp back up on creating a distro.

7. Firefox 3

We are not planning very many new features for Firefox 3 for GNOME 2.24. Instead, we plan to focus a lot on maintenance of the existing script and fixing issues as they arise. In other words, we want to let the current implementation cook for a while also addressing the direct requests from users.


8. Thunderbird

Activity for the Thunderbird 3.0 e-mail client is ramping up in Mozilla, and we plan on spending time working with the team to flush out accessibility issues and providing more compelling support for it in Orca.


  • (2008-05-06) Due to unexpected issues elsewhere, we will most likely look into the more 'minimal' aspect of Thunderbird support (i.e., just bug 511561). This means we might not do support for spell checking, flat review, text selection, or calendaring.
  • TODO:
    • (2008-05-06) JOANIE to look into fixing bug 511561.

9. Increased Support for People with Low Vision

There are a number of things we can do better to provide better access for people with low vision. These include providing better visual feedback, navigation by sentence, echo by sentence, reduced verbosity, etc.


10. Better Support for BrlTTY Commands

Braille users are frequently asking for better control of the user interface from the braille device alone. We hope to support a number of high requested features, such as improved cursor routing support, activating hyperlinks, better navigation, text selection, etc.

10.1. STATUS

  • TODO:
    • (2008-05-06) MIKE to spec.

11. An Improved Approach to Verbosity

We have a very coarse and not-so-well-defined approach to speech and braille verbosity. Users are asking for better support. So, we plan to work with users to improve the overall approach.

11.1. STATUS

  • TODO:
    • (2008-05-06) MIKE to spec.

Projects/Orca/RoadMap/TwoPointTwentyFour (last edited 2013-11-22 19:22:31 by WilliamJonMcCann)