[Accessibility] [Kde-accessibility] Orca/KDE Integration

Olaf Jan Schmidt ojschmidt at kde.org
Wed Aug 30 08:50:25 PDT 2006

[ Bill Haneman ]
> Like you, I worry about the performance. It seems to me like a lot of
> work just to avoid using ORBit2 in the short term...

Short term?

Sorry to disappoint you, but KDE 4 will still take some time. We can only make 
medium to long term plans at the moment.

KDE development is currently in an extensive API review phase, where all code 
in the libraries is evaluated for possible changes. Once this review is 
complete, we will have to stick with the API for a really long time.

Our short term goal is to educate the other KDE developers about what is 
needed in the applications and libraries to properly support AT-SPI. We can 
do this best if we can sell them a nice API that is expected to be around 
long term.

I agree with you that using atk plus the existing AT-SPI implementation (with 
gconf, bonobo etc) would have been a nice short term strategy to integrate 
KDE applications into the GNOME desktop accessibility-wise, but Qt3+KDE3 have 
too many limitations to do this and KDE4 is just not ready yet.

If we attempt to apply this short term strategy to our medium term plan of 
making the KDE4 desktop itself accessible, then it quickly becomes obvious 
that we need a different plan for this.

Neither you nor me would like to tell the KDE developers: "To make KDE4 
accessible, the desktop will need to use CORBA+Bonobo. We will also have to 
restrict key parts of KDE Accessibility to those platforms where a suitable 
C++ ORB is available, at least until we have a consensus between all players 
to migrate to D-Bus. Both the desktop and all applications will need to read 
gconf keys and GNOME specific environment variables. There might be more, 
since we do not have a complete dependencies list of the current AT-SPI code 
available. A D-Bus migration might be a possible alternative, but the GNOME 
team discourages work on this (at least short term), citing interoperability 
concerns and likely performance problems. We also discussed removing some of 
the other dependencies, but it would not benefit the user to destabilise 
AT-SPI at the current point of time."

My hope is that we can decide on the long term plan for AT-SPI soon, so that 
we are able to define the KDE4 APIs accordingly. It shouldn't be too 
difficult to agree on a version of AT-SPI that fits the needs of both KDE and 
GNOME if we make this a joint effort.


Olaf Jan Schmidt, KDE Accessibility co-maintainer, open standards 
accessibility networker, Protestant theology student and webmaster of 
http://accessibility.kde.org/ and http://www.amen-online.de/

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