Urgent: Linux accessibility help

Geoff Shang geoff at QuiteLikely.com
Mon Jun 6 16:50:00 UTC 2016


I've just started a new job and have run into some accessibility issues 
that may not be solvable under Linux.  I would like to solve it this way 
though so I'm posting here for help.

Here are the requirements:

1.  Authorised Linux releases are Ubuntu 14.04 and RHEL 7.2.  That's it.

2.  I am required to use IBM Notes (formerly Lotus Notes) for email.

Here's what happened:

I got a laptop with Ubuntu 14.04 installed.  I don't know if speech was 
activated during the install, so I don't know if the desktop environment 
has been optimised for Orca.

IBM Notes 9.01 doesn't talk at *all*.  The only keystroke I can get to 
talk is alt-tab.

There is also a web UI for the email, but I can't open the email messages 
in Firefox (enter does nothing).

But I think the Firefox issue may be due to Firefox 46 being installed 
which I suspect is current Firefox rather than the version that came with 
Ubuntu 14.04.  The menus don't talk either, and the apt cache shows both 
Firefox 46 and 28.

Other than this, Firefox is quite responsive.

Of more concern is the fact that Orca is version 3.10.3, which I believe 
is pretty ancient and lacks a lot of improvements.

Unity is 7.2.6 which may or may not be the version that shipped with 
Ubuntu 14.04 and which may or may not work well with Orca 3.10.3.

So my questions, in no particular order, are:

1.  How is Ubuntu 14.04 generally for desktop accessibility?

2.  Would RHEL 7.2 be any better?

3.  Does IBM Notes work with Orca at all?  I would expect it to but it's 
not working here right now.

4.  Would the Ubuntu Accessibility PPA be of any help with any of this?  I 
don't know how receptive IT would be to using it but it might be easier 
than arguing for Ubuntu 16.04.

I also welcome any off-list comments on Mac and Windows accessibility of 
IBM Notes, in case I have to go that way.

Thanks in advance for any help that anyone may provide.


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