Are Their Any Other Graphical Screen-Readers in Linux, Other than ORCA?

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Fri Mar 19 01:58:57 UTC 2021

For what it's worth, I agree that it's disgusting how many websites
use JavaScript and other rich web content for things that could be
done with basic HTML... and wish I knew a good way to selectively
block problematic JavaScript while allowing just the JavaScript that
is vital for some websites to function. Pre-Quantum versions of
NoScript worked great for this, but that became pretty much unuseable
with the Quantum overhaul and I've yet to find a decent replacement.

I also think Orca's preferences are downright labyrinthine, making
toggling settings that aren't set to a keyboard shortcut impractical
despite cases where it would be useful to do so.

That said, on the dream interface front, my biggest want is a
text-mode web browser that I find half as usable as Firefox with
Orca... My main reason being that Firefox and Orca are by far the
largest apps I use on a daily basis, and if I could find a
satisfactory text-only browsing experience, I could ditch the GUI

At a bare minimum, it would need to feature:
Full support for modern web technologies(As much as I hate JavaScript
and it's ilk, there are just too many websites that abuse them to
avoid them entirely).
Built-in navigational Hotkeys similar to those provided by Orca, NVDA, and JAWS.
Firefox-like Keybindings, or at least keybindings that aren't
completely alien to someone used to Graphical browsers.
A page renderer the forces multi-column pages into a single column so
screen readers aren't trying to read text from multiple columns.
Arrow keys move around the page like in most text editors.
focused objects stretch to the width of the screen.
Tabbed browsing.

And things that would be nice to have:
JavaScript and Cookies blocked by default, but with keyboard shortcuts
to allow them on the current page, reloading the page as needed and a
permissions menu that provides more nuanced control of these or to
permanently white list certain domains. Also, auto whitelisting of
cookies created when submitting a log-in page would be nice(actually,
it would be ideal if only cookies needed to maintain log-ins where
accepted and all others were blocked by default).
pressing enter simulates a left mouse click on the character under the
reading cursor if enter would normally do nothing. For websites with
JavaScript clickables or places that appear as plain-text that are
meant to be clicked.

If anyone knows of any text-mode browsers with any of these features,
I'd love to hear about them, but from what I've tried, most text-mode
browsers do one or more of the following:

preserve multi-column layouts, which leads to stuff from different
columns getting read together(e.g. pages with a list of links in the
left margin and the main content in the middle end up with each line
consisting of a link from the left column and a line of text from the
middle column. mixing content that one doesn't want mixed and often
making the body text more choppy due to some of each line going to
text that should be off screen).

Have incomplete or non-existant support for rich web content, meaning
many websites simply don't work.

Have keybindings that make no sense to someone who was introduced to
the Internet via graphical browsers(though I imagine many people who
have been using text mode browsers since the dos days and are only
trying graphical browsers due to how the web is growing ever more
hostile towards text-only browsers are probably just as lost
attempting the migration in the other direction). Up and down arrows
acting the way I expected from  shift+tab and tab was surpremely
disorienting the first time I tried a text-mode browser, not to
mention that it leaves me dependant on screen review to read what's
between tabbable elements.

And quite frankly, the navigational hotkeys provide by Orca, NVDA, and
JAWS are so darn useful, I wonder how I got by without them back when
I could see. Sure, a scroll wheel or swiping on a touchscreen is a
powerful tool for jumping over large sections of a web page when you
can see well enough to do so, as is simply tapping/clicking on the
elements you want to put focus on, but it still sounds slow compared
to keeping one's fingers on the keyboard and instantly jumping between
headings or between form elements of a specific type... and why screen
readers have to provide this functionality instead of it being a
standard feature in all browsers, graphical and text-based, baffles
me... If my vision was miraculously restored tomorrow, it would be
tempting to keep Orca around just for the navigational hotkeys if I
couldn't find a Firefox extension to do the same.

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