- Description: Mozilla's E-mail Client
- Summary: Accessible as of version 3.0a1pre of January 14, 2008.
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:
ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/thunderbird/nightly/latest-trunk/ 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 ./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.
- 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.