Orca - Fedora Freedom and Independence for the Blind

Hello, I am replicating this text from a friend who is a Fedora user and visually impaired. He is having difficulties with the latest versions of Fedora:

Fedora Freedom and Independence for the Blind
A story of success and truth.

Gentlemen of the Fedora Brasil Community, I come through this to report my experience with the GNU / Linux Fedora Operating System.
Firstly, I want to introduce myself, my name is Cristiano Scheidegger, I am 48 years old, today I am totally blind, but when I started using Fedora, I still had a residue of vision, which allowed me to view the screen in high contrast . I started using Fedora in 2013 and until February 2015, I used it in high contrast, from that date on, my blindness evolved to the full. And as a total blind, I started using the Orca screen reader on my Fedora, and it was an incredibly good experience. Everything I did before, as a low vision user, I continued doing it, with the help of the Orca screen reader, without any difficulty.
When I started using Fedora, I installed version 17, and in low vision I used versions 17, 19 and 20. And in these versions I don’t remember anything that disappointed me. After totaling the blindness, I installed version 23 and used it until version 25 was released, this one used up to version 27, which I also used a lot. I am describing this version history, to support my experience and what has changed since version 28, which affected me.
After the totality of the blindness, I discovered that with Orca, I could do everything I did before on my PC, as I was also able to install Fedora on a HD formatted from scratch, which I do often, either on my computers, but also I install on my family and friends’ computers. I do this so easily, that the only blind person here is me, everyone who asks me to install Fedora is normal people.
As of version 28, the user creation screen and root password definition were removed from the installation wizard, this change affected my freedom to install the system without the need for help from a psychic, as the creation screen user appears at the time of the first boot, where the orca cannot be started. I would like the user creation screen to go back to how it was before, in the anaconda wizard, where I have orca active.
I will detail how I install the system without the help of a person who sees, because I am not a fool, I only talk about what I really do. My PC is already programmed to look for the boot on the CD / DVD drive first, when I install a new version of Fedora, I proceed as follows. I go to the Fedora website and download the Iso of the desired version. With the image I record an installation DVD, after that I make a backup of my data to a backup HD, and turn off the PC, disconnect the backup HD to avoid an accident at the time of installation, with my data on the redundancy HD and this in a safe place, proceed with the installation procedure. I turn the machine on with the installation disc in the drive, and while the system loads, I play with the volume control on the keyboard. When the sound effect of the Fedora volume control appears, it is the signal that tells me that the system has been loaded successfully. I press Alt + F2 I type “orca”, ready orca starts talking and I open a terminal, type “su” to be root on the live cd and edit the partitions with “cfdisk” and then run the anaconda installation wizard.
With version 28 and above, at the first boot, if I’m just at home, I need to call a friend, using whatsapp and point the whatsapp camera at my PC screen, for the person to help me define the first user. That enters with sudo active, and then I register another one without sudo, and set the root password, done this I remove the user who has sudo, and leave only the common user and use root in tasks that need super powers. But this part of removing the user who has sudo is just my habit. And in the version of anaconda from before everything was my way, during installation. And I didn’t need anybody’s help.
What I reported is not a bug, but a change in the installation wizard screen. But in version 31 and 32 another situation arose, which made it difficult for me, the orca is not reading the anaconda installation wizard screen.
According to the above reports, realize that my freedom to install the system has been impaired, but Fedora is still the only one I can install, almost without help. And I would be very happy if you would allow me to speak with you, via email preferably. So that we can together contribute to making Fedora, which is already very good, for a blind user, into something even better.
In Fedora 32, the Screen Reader presented another situation, it is not reading the login screen and it is not activating the typing of numbers on the numeric keypad for the desktop computer option when NumLock is “ON”, and the same in “OFF” does not have the Orca support key features, which are: [/] = left-click. [*] = right-click And the numbers in turn move the focus and pronounce the location of the focus.
But version 32, I installed it this week, and I’m still testing it. I think the problem came after a package update I did. And it was on a test SSD HD. My official version is currently 31, which is very good. As I said above, it is only when installing, that I have that difficulty in version 31, but once installed, it is perfect.
Now I’m going to tell you what I do on a daily basis, on my computer with fedora. These are simple tasks for a home user, such as: Editing text in Libre Office Write; edit spreadsheets in Calc; scan documents for sending or performing OCR, for reading with Orca; I use thunderbird to manage my email accounts; I surf the internet and access Internet banking to pay energy and telephone bills, and make DOC and TED transfers, all on firefox, without using any accessibility offered by Caixa and bradesco banks, which are my accounts; I convert books from pdf format to txt, txt r to mp3 audio file, using espeak-ng, in the terminal.
See that the tasks above are typical for a home user, but I do other things that are outside the scope of a home user, but I’ll leave it for another opportunity.
In the certainty of your attention, I thank you in advance for this, thank you very much.

Contact

Name: cristiano Scheidegger

5 Likes

Hello! Thank you for your story and for the problem report. I will pass this on to the anaconda team.

6 Likes

No need, it’s a GNOME problem. Look:

As of version 28, the user creation screen and root password definition were removed from the installation wizard, this change affected my freedom to install the system without the need for help from a psychic, as the creation screen user appears at the time of the first boot, where the orca cannot be started. I would like the user creation screen to go back to how it was before, in the anaconda wizard, where I have orca active.

So the problem is that I moved user creation from anaconda to GNOME back in Fedora 28, and apparently we don’t have a way to run orca in the initial setup session! Drat!

In Fedora 32, the Screen Reader presented another situation, it is not reading the login screen and it is not activating the typing of numbers on the numeric keypad for the desktop computer option when NumLock is “ON”, and the same in “OFF” does not have the Orca support key features, which are: [/] = left-click. [*] = right-click And the numbers in turn move the focus and pronounce the location of the focus.

Then this must be some unrelated GNOME regression. Or multiple regressions. I wonder what went wrong and whether we have a bug report for it.

2 Likes

OK, I tried to install Fedora 32 with my eyes closed, using the Workstation live image, but I failed pretty badly. Once we boot to the “Welcome to Fedora” prompt, I press Alt+Super+S to launch Orca and then Install Fedora. Problem is Orca doesn’t read anything in anaconda. Orca reads everything except anaconda, but anaconda itself seems to be really completely inaccessible. So I’m confused how you managed to get Orca working with anaconda in the first place?

Anyway, if I cheat and skip ahead to the initial setup session, I am able to launch orca using Alt+Super+S. It’s pretty hard to navigate – it doesn’t read what page I am on, or what any of the buttons do – but if I keep pressing Tab until I get to the Next button, eventually I make my way to the user creation page where it asks for full name and username, then through the password on the next page. So it seems to work OK. I suspect gnome-initial-setup could use some general accessibility improvements, but I don’t think there is a general problem? In particular, I found that anaconda was 100% inaccessible, while gnome-initial-setup was at least somewhat accessible, so I’m not sure why moving user creation to gnome-initial-setup was a problem. Maybe I’m missing something regarding accessibility in anaconda?

2 Likes

Anyway, I also tried using Alt+Super+S to enable Orca on the gnome-shell login screen. It works well in Fedora 31, but it’s not accessible in Fedora 32. That’s clearly a bug, and it doesn’t seem to have been reported before, so I created https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/gnome-shell/-/issues/3157.

4 Likes

Thanks. My friend read the thread reply and very enpolgaded with the possibiliti of return to install by himself. :slight_smile:

Bom dia Cristiano,

may I suggest to remove your phone number and email from your original post? It may be collected by web crawlers and you may receive a lot unwanted messages, calls, or email afterwards. If you let us know, one of the moderator is happy to remove your contact details.

4 Likes

I had missed that! I’ve removed it now. @beiriz, we’ll contact you privately for Cristiano’s contact details if we need them. Thanks very much.

2 Likes

Perfect. It’s better. I’m available. PS: Cristiano is a systems analyst. He has good knowledge to assist with testing :slight_smile: Thanks

2 Likes

Hello,
I am also visually impaired.
The solution is to use isos with the Mate desktop (link at the end of the post), because it seems that this problem comes from the Gnome desktop 3.36 and higher.
This problem does not therefore come from the Anaconda installer.
With all my attention.

https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/fedora/linux/releases/32/Spins/x86_64/iso/Fedora-MATE_Compiz-Live-x86_64-32-1.6.iso