usb-creator in suse; accessibility in Qt, it speaks!

For reasons I haven't worked out, Ubuntu needs a specific tool to write its ISO CD images onto a USB disk. This is fine if you're on an Ubuntu distro or on Windows where we have usb-creator available to install, but is a problem for users of other distros. If an openSUSE user who has no CD drive wants to try out Ubuntu (to steal all our great ideas no doubt) they're a bit stuck. So I learnt how to build RPMs and secrets of the openSUSE build service and put Ubuntu USB Creator into an openSUSE archive. Unfortunately although I patched it to run fine the end result doesn't boot and gets stuck at the syslinux startup credit. So more work to be done there I'm afraid.

More successful was packaging qt-at-spi, a plugin to get Qt talking to AT-SPI2. Qt 4 has always had accessibility but while it has worked on Windows and Mac it has never been plugged into the AT-SPI interface used by Linux. This is because AT-SPI used Bonobo which used CORBA and nobody wants to implement CORBA if they can at all avoid it. So Nokia and others worked on AT-SPI2 which uses DBus. Unfortunately AT-SPI2 has been a long time coming, but now it is stabalising and getting ready for use. Frederick Gladhorn has taken up the Qt plugin to talk AT-SPI 2 and you can find it in the Kubuntu Experimental PPA.

It takes some fiddling to get it to work and the end result is crashy. I had to install at-spi2-core, libatk-adaptor, python-pyatspi2 as well as orca the screen reader. Then set some gconf settings to tell orca to use AT-SPI2 (gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/interface/at-spi-dbus --type bool true; gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/interface/at-spi-corba --type bool false). Force some environment variables export GTK_MODULES=gail:atk-bridge; export QT_ACCESSIBILITY=1 and finally orca will read my Qt applications. Yay.