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Thread: Gnopernicus/Magnifier on Xubuntu

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  1. #1
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    Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

    Gnopernicus/Magnifier on Xubuntu

    Hello, everyone.

    This may be a stupid question, and if so I sincerely apologize as I am quite ignorant when concerning Ubuntu Desktops (GNOME, KDE, Xfce) and accessibility.

    My college is going to be participating in a community project in which we will be installing Xubuntu on donated computer systems (which are typically older PCs) and then freely redistributing these systems to students and other individuals who are in need of computer systems.

    My Linux class (including myself) will be the support base for those in the community who receive these systems.

    I am quite unfamiliar with Xubuntu/Xfce, so I plan on installing the Xubuntu Desktop on my current Ubuntu Dapper (GNOME) installation so that I can get a feel for Xfce without losing my original installation. My question is this: Will Gnopernicus (especially the gnome-mag component) work with the Xubuntu distribution?

    As I said, this may be a stupid question, but as far as the variety of Linux desktops comes into play, I am very ignorant I just want to figure this out so that I can hopefully be a strong support person and so that I may be able to help those who receive the donated systems.

    Thanks for any input; it is greatly appreciated.
    Proud visually impaired user of Ubuntu.
    Member of the Ubuntu Accessibility Team
    Registered Linux User #423082

  2. #2
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    Re: Gnopernicus/Magnifier on Xubuntu

    Quote Originally Posted by RKCole View Post
    This may be a stupid question, and if so I sincerely apologize as I am quite ignorant when concerning Ubuntu Desktops (GNOME, KDE, Xfce) and accessibility.
    It's certainly not a stupid question, but cutting edge access research XFCE is still fairly untested in this regard.

    My question is this: Will Gnopernicus (especially the gnome-mag component) work with the Xubuntu distribution?
    In principle it should work.

    I did some testing but the AT-SPI stuff seems badly broken on edgy today so my results were mixed. I can get gnopernicus to run, but not the magnifier. kmag runs fine, but this does of course not have a cursor tracking feature.

    In any case I would recomend using Orca instead of gnopernicus, the new screen reader and magnifier front-end for Gnome and XFCE. It starts fine on Xubuntu and text-to-speech works fine in some applications (like gedit), but not others (like abiword or openoffice). The magnifier part fails for the same reason that the gnopernicus one fails (as it does on gnome for that matter).

    XFCE could certainly do with some AT testing and probably some bug reports here and there.
    Henrik Nilsen OmmaUbuntu QA Team Lead

  3. #3
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    Re: Gnopernicus/Magnifier on Xubuntu

    As soon as I get some time, I'll give it a try on my Ubuntu Dapper installation and see what happens.

    I was also wondering...Is the Accessibility Team looking for any new members? I would like to join and contribute whatever I can to help further Linux Accessibility. And if so, what would I need in order to be qualified?

    Take care.
    Proud visually impaired user of Ubuntu.
    Member of the Ubuntu Accessibility Team
    Registered Linux User #423082

  4. #4
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    Re: Gnopernicus/Magnifier on Xubuntu

    Joining the team is easy! (but it should obviously be better documented). I've posted a topic about it here and I'llnhave it set to sticky.

    Welcome RKcole!
    Henrik Nilsen OmmaUbuntu QA Team Lead

  5. #5
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    Ubuntu 6.06

    Re: Gnopernicus/Magnifier on Xubuntu

    very cool stuff. XFCE is based off of GTK so i assume we can load up the at-spi layer? This needs to be tested and played with. I had not even thought of this avenue! Great catch
    Proud low vision user of Ubuntu
    ~Jason Grieves (Ubuntu Accessibility Team)

  6. #6
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    Re: Gnopernicus/Magnifier on Xubuntu

    I tried out Gnopernicus/Magnifier on Xubuntu this morning, and it looks like it would work. The only problem is the top panel--this causes some flaw (from what I have seen so far) which distorts/freezes the magnifier. This was the same problem I had with Ubuntu, but I fixed it by dragging the top panel to the bottom so that there are two bottom panels. Unfortunately, it does not seem that this will be as easy in Xubuntu. Once I can find a way to permanently situate the top panel in a position at the bottom of the screen, I'll try to do some more testing.

    Testing Conditions
    This was tested on a xubuntu-desktop install in Ubuntu Dapper.

    This was tested with a horizontal split (similar to Windows Magnifier), thus the top panel MUST be placed at the bottom of the screen for optimum performance.

    To create the horizontal split (on a 1024x768 resolution) do the following (this assumes the Magnifier is enabled in Gnopernicus):

    1) When at the Gnopernicus main menu, click Preferences.
    2) When the Preferences menu appears, click on the option for Magnifier.
    3) When the Magnifier Preferences dialog box opens, click on the Add/Modify button below the Zoomer List box.
    4) When the Zoomer Options dialog box appears, set the Zoomer Placement settings to the following values:

    Left: 0
    Top: 0
    Right: 1023
    Bottom: 200

    5) Click on the Apply button to apply the changes.

    The settings may or may not immediately take effect. I had to log out and log-in again and everything worked as it should. This will create a horizontal magnifier strip across the top of the screen. So far, most programs have worked with it very well. I have not had any problems with programs being partially hidden under the magnifier with this setup. But as you can see, a top panel greatly interferes with this setup.

    This is definitely a much friendlier way of working with the magnifier compared to the default startup settings which take up half of the screen in a vertical split, thus only allowing applications to be half-visible, if visible at all.

    I hope this helps someone, and if anyone has any suggestions as to how to permanently situate the top panel at the bottom of the screen in Xubuntu, this information would be greatly appreciated.

    Take care.
    Proud visually impaired user of Ubuntu.
    Member of the Ubuntu Accessibility Team
    Registered Linux User #423082

  7. #7
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    Well everyone, I'm here with the verdict...

    I finally was able to straighten some things out, and I am glad to report that the magnifier does work very well in Xubuntu. It is very smooth, and does nto seem to have many problems from first impressions.

    What I do see, however, while I am typing this, is taht it does not show the keyboard input as well as it does on GNOME. What I mean by this is that when I begin typing, no letters that are entered are shown until I move the mouse pointer; then everythign which was typed appears on-screen. So basically, when I first begin typing a word, all that I see until moving the mouse pointer is pretty much the first letter of the word.

    IN any case, though, this works out a lot better than in using GNOME (for me especially because of only having 256MB of RAM).

    The best part of this is that IT WORKS!!

    Does anyone know if Gnopernicus comes standard with Xubuntu?

    Have a great day, everyone.
    Proud visually impaired user of Ubuntu.
    Member of the Ubuntu Accessibility Team
    Registered Linux User #423082

  8. #8
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    Re: Gnopernicus/Magnifier on Xubuntu

    The reason the magnifier does not follow the cursor in Xubuntu is that XFCE does not yet support the Gnome accessibility framework (called AT-SPI). I believe they are working on this support though.

    Which editor are you using? I may be that it works if you use Gedit and gnopernicus/Orca, though you'll probably need to install most of gnome and then make sure AT-SPI. It might still be faster though because you don't actually run Gnome.
    Henrik Nilsen OmmaUbuntu QA Team Lead

  9. #9
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    Re: Gnopernicus/Magnifier on Xubuntu

    Hello, Henrik.

    The keyboard entry tracking seems to work on most applications except for entry forms like textboxes in Firefox. I am beginning to think that that is the main issue: Firefox itself.

    In any case, I am really enjoying using this on XFCE/Xubuntu. It's quite amazing compared to what I was used to in GNOME. I've been working with it for the past few hours and it works wonderfully.

    As for installing GNOME components, that won't be a problem at all. My original install was GNOME/Ubuntu, and I just installed the xubuntu-desktop package. The GNOME components should already be available since I did this, right? In any case, I am very impressed, and until I can afford more RAM (and maybe even after that) I think I am going to stick with the Xfce desktop, but I still have GNOME available if I ever need it or want to use it.

    Thanks for all of the input and support.
    Proud visually impaired user of Ubuntu.
    Member of the Ubuntu Accessibility Team
    Registered Linux User #423082

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 6.06

    Re: Gnopernicus/Magnifier on Xubuntu

    Hi,

    try this...

    export GTK_MODULES=gail:atk-bridge

    see if that helps in some of the GTK applications. Run it from teh command line to see if the accessibility layers are being loaded
    Proud low vision user of Ubuntu
    ~Jason Grieves (Ubuntu Accessibility Team)

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