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It is now possible to read e-mail, news, and RSS feed messages under the Gnome desktop by using the latest versions of Thunderbird 3.0 and Orca. Changes and enhancements to accessibility are being made on an almost daily basis, and with each change, the reading experience becomes that much more compelling. However, in order to take advantage of, and help test new functionality, it is important to insure that your development versions of Thunderbird and orca remain up to date.The below steps outline the procedure to install and update both orca and Thunderbird, and provide Thunderbird-specific information as well as known issues. For more information on general browsing features of Orca and Mozilla/Gecko products, see the Orca and Firefox page.

Installing and updating Orca

Please refer to the Downloading and Installing Orca page for information on building and installing Orca from the latest sources.

After the install completes, you must quit and then restart Orca for new changes to take effect. You should periodically insure that your version of Orca is kept up to date by repeating the steps outlined above.

Installing and updating Thunderbird 3.0

in order to install the development version of Thunderbird, you first need to get the latest nightly build, and then uncompress it into a directory of your choice. The most up to date build can always be obtained from here: Uncompress the file with commands similar to the following:

bunzip2 thunderbird-3.0a1pre.en-US.linux-i686.tar.bz2
tar -xvf thunderbird-3.0a1pre.en-US.linux-i686.tar 

To run your new version of Thunderbird:

cd thunderbird

You can insure that your Thunderbird is up to date by periodically selecting the check for updates option under the help menu.

Using Thunderbird 3.0 with Orca

We recommend that you turn off the Preview Pane by unchecking the Message Pane option under the View menu, Window layout sub menu. Instead, we recommend that you open each message individually by selecting it in the Messages list and pressing ENTER.

Here's some help from Steve Holmes:

Well, I find Thunderbird to be fairly self explanatory and from my
experience, no special Orca considerations needed.  Orca does have a
script supplied that deals with the Mozilla side of things and from
what I can tell, handles thunderbird and shreder quite smoothly.

For quick navigation, I'll try and summarize what I do on my system.
I use Thunderbird with two IMAP accounts so when I get into the
program, I have to be sure I'm in the right node of the treeview for
the mail account I want to follow.  When you open the program for the
first time, you will get the wizzards used to set up new accounts.  I
won't go into account specific stuff here because I'm sure that varies
depending on your mail account parameters.  But after the first-time
stuff is out of the way, tab around the interface and hear the types
of contreols shown.  You get a tree table which will be the mail
accounts and folders under each account like INBOX, sent mail, trash,
etc.  These talk fine with Orca and just arrowing around should cause
a normal tree table behavior with spoken confirmation of where you
are.  Then tab once to place you in the message list for that folder.
Here, arrowing up and down the vertical list will speak the message
you're on and also the status if the message is unread, has
attachment, expanded or collapsed thread, date, time, etc.  One thing
I always do with Thunderbird on any platform is to turn off any
previewing of messages.  Go into the View menu and look for message
preview or something very similar.  I can't remember if it is on the
top level of the view menu or if you have to go into one of the other
menus like folder or sort options.  I like threaded mail so I go in
and set threading to be on in the Sort submenu of View.  Also, while
on a message thread in the message list, pressing the KP_Enter key
twice quickly will read the status line and from that you will hear
how many messages are in the folder and the number of selected
messages is usually how many messages there are in that thread.

Reading message bodies is pretty easy with Orca too.  I just hit enter
on the desired message and it opens and I can use the usual structural
navigation keys we can use with Firefox.  It's just like viewing a web
page.  One thing I should point out here is by default the latest
versions of thunderbird default to openning the message detail in the
same instance of thunderbird and not in separate windows.  If this
ends up being your situation, you will need to close the message with
Ctrl-W; escape will not do it.  I also had some other issues I can't
exactly explain now but found it easier to configure the program to
open messages in separate windows.  When configured this way, I could
use the Escape key to close the window and there was no chance of
ending up with several messages opened at the same time.  Oh, won
other thing, When composing a message, press Ctrl-Enter to close and
send the message to cancel editing of a message, hit Ctrl-W.

Hope this overview helps.  I'm sure I may have missed some important
details some place but this should be a pretty good start.  By and
large, I have pretty good luck sith Thunderbird.  This is one
excellent example of where a program works much better with Orca than
it does with Windows using Window-Eyes.  The orca implementation
appears to be much more accessible.

Also, I forgot another important fact.  You need to set the reading of
cells to reading of rows.  That's in the Orca Preferences and the
orca+F11 key toggles this.  I usually prefer cell reading for things
like Nautilus but Thunderbird it has to be row to be effective.

Known issues

  • When replying to an HTML message, the level of indentation of the quoted text is not yet indicated.
  • There are still a few speech/navigation issues in the Filters manager that the Mozilla accessibility and Orca teams will work to resolve.

See also the Mozilla Bugs page for a list of Mozilla bugs that prevent Orca from doing as good a job as it could do.

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/Thunderbird (last edited 2013-12-28 19:30:01 by WilliamJonMcCann)