Accessibility issues in 18.04 ( screen-reader and BRLTTY)



Hi all,
I’m testing out Ubuntu mate 18.04 final after years of 16.04 usage.
I use accessibility settings and services (Orca and BRLTTY) daily, with little configurations.
I found in both 16.04 and 18.04 a little “bug” related to Orca, and i want to uderstand if is only my case.
When starting Orca (with the screen reader hotkey) the program start as usual but changes to the settings in configuration UI is being partially save in both distro versions I tested.
In the 16.04 there was a tweach suggested on stack overflow: starting orca from the runn program window (ALT+F2) with the “-t” switch to start the initial text-mode configuration; after that the changes in settings will work as expected.
With Ubuntu Mate 18.04 the Orca version is different, so the fix above will not work, as it seems that the “-t” switch is not present anymore.
I tested that the problem can be temporarily fixed by modifing the Orca startup command for the user in startup applications, appending the “-u” switch to specify a path for the user settings of Orca, and restarting it will create all files. From there by modifing and saving settings profile orca start working normally.
Owever, sometimes, restarting Orca with the hotkey or resuming the system from standby causes Orca to re-load default profiles from the default path

I imagine that can be a permission related issue or something similar, but I have no ideas from which folder I can start, as the default Orca settings folder seems ok.

Now the second problem:
The BRLTTY daemon, as far I know Ubuntu Mate, is ever running without problems and will recognize braille displays automatically, is configured to do so.
With Ubuntu Mate 16.04 final I haved no problems at all; now 18.04 may have changed alot.

I can test with only an old ALVA USB model, and it is recognized by BRLTTY daemon but in any graphical window it shows “screen not in text mode”.
If i switch to a console session it wor fine, so I’m thinking it’s a cooperation between orca and BRLTTY that isn’t working; cooperation that is suggested by a braille panel in orca settings.
I have rapidly read user docs for Orca and BRLTTY and not found anything about a similar “bridge”… maybe is at-spi that is managing that?

I have tested only on Ubuntu Mate and not the standard Ubuntu, because Mate is really more accessible than others.

Any ideas, especially for the BRLTTY one?
Could be my misunderstanding of accessibility services, but seems that something is missing, because i can use it in consoles.

Thanks in advance,


Hi, for BRLTTY being stubbern to connect and work nicely with Orca there is a solution.
It has to be started by the GUI, not by the console. Do not ask me why because I am still searching for that answer. Most probably something with permissions, Unix socket paths and/or dbus if used in speech dispatcher.
If you configured BRLTTY to start automatically via init script, disable this.
Instead run it from the graphical terminal. Ctrl+Alt+T and
$ sudo brltty
Although I don’t get why Orca doesn’t start it automatically as on regular Ubuntu.

If it still doesn’t connect with Orca, than install speech dispatcher bridge by running the command
$ sudo apt install brltty-speechd
And then perform the first step again.


Don’t ask whi, but after some weeks after posting and probably some
system updates ( package updates and upgrades) of my ubuntu Mate, it
seemed to working again.
My intentions was to fill an ORCA ticket or ubuntu Mate ticket but i
thinked also that ORCA and BRLTTY versions are both outdated, as usual
on ubuntu systems, so the problem could be already documented. After
quick searchs i didn’t find anything.
Ok nice to hear that could be perms, busses and so on, also ORCA on my
main installation is working for now,
but on a VM, same installation ecc ecc, have troubles in “remembering”
voice settings ecc, that is really strange.

Now I have both BRLTTY and ORCA working, but I’m pretty sure that if I
must reinstall the same will appen. Without considering orca not launch
automatically on login screen ~20% of times as “normal life”.