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Re: State of Orca in Testing

Manuel <manuel@a12x.net> wrote:
> Three months ago I remember that Debian testing does has an issue with
> Orca, that causes the screen reader does not talk when the session is
> started. After I installed Debian Stable to use in my university and I
> did not follow the bug and your solution. Someone knows if this problem
> is solved in testing now?

Orca hasn't been updated in unstable or testing due to issues with
dependencies. I've contributed some of the necessary work but it's still
awaiting review and I don't have time at the moment to pursue it through the
necessary Debian procedures. Specifically, see
which is required by Speech-Dispatcher 0.8.

I think Luke has done the necessary work to upgrade to versions of Orca that
require Python 3. Debian itself still has GNOME-Shell 3.4 as the dependencies
haven't all been updated, so there's more work to be done there, and
GNOME-Shell 3.4 is not accessible if you run it with a recent version of
AT-SPI (such as that currently in Unstable and Testing).

For my next laptop, I'm seriously contemplating migrating to a different Linux
distribution that is kept more up to date. I would rather be spending my time
reporting and helping with upstream bugs than dealing with
distribution-specific packaging issues. I think it's unfortunate that Debian
lacks the resources to update GNOME and GNOME accessibility in a timely
manner, and I also realize that I'm part of the problem (see above). What I
need to consider, though, is whether it's time to move to a more focused Linux
distribution that has priorities and resources enabling it to keep pace with
upstream developments more effectively.

In the end, you have to choose which distribution's goals align best with your
needs, and the state of Debian at the moment is prompting me to re-evaluate. I
also think the lack of a decision about the future default init system is
symptomatic of the problem: many other distributions have already moved to
Systemd (or Upstart in the case of Ubuntu). I'm well aware that Debian has
non-Linux kernels to consider and that there are interesting dependencies
between Systemd and GNOME to be worked out; some other distributions are more
focused (fewer architectures, no non-Linux kernels, prioritization of GNOME
packages etc.), and seem to make decisions more readily about adopting
fundamental changes.

I think the Debian accessibility community is truly great, however, and I
really do appreciate all the effort that volunteers devote to this work. It
might be that some of the issues are sorted out by the time I need to install
my next machine and I can just track Debian unstable - we'll see.

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