ORCA Fundraiser and the HPR New Year Show

During this years third annual Hacker Public Radio 26 Hour New Year show we will be discussing the ongoing work on the Orca project.

The orca Screen Reader is a free, open source, flexible, and extensible screen reader that provides access to the graphical desktop via user-customizable combinations of speech and/or braille. Written in python, it provides a way for blind, low vision, dyslexic, etc. people to do all the things we all take for granted. Filing taxes, checking when the next bus is leaving, or simply earning a living.

The problem is that while this program is so essential to so many peoples lives it has only one (1) developer, Joanmarie Diggs of Igalia open source consultancy.

We’re going to fix that.


We’re going to raise $100,000 to hire two full time contractors to fix all the outstanding bugs ┬átracked by Orca.


We’re going to find programmers and have them work on this either full time or part time, to continue to improve Accessibility in:

  • Orca
  • Speech Dispatcher
  • Thunderbird
  • Gecko
  • Evolution
  • LibreOffice
  • Java (and its Atk Wrapper)
  • GnuCash
  • AbiWord
  • Audacity
  • and any other apps and toolkits that need help


We’re going to raise the profile of Accessible Computing in every software project so that support is included from the start, contributing documentation, putting people in touch with advisors, telling our friends that Orca and Sonar exists, recording new voices, and generally making Orca not just better but, ten times better

So please spread the word, on social networks #FundOrca, contact every celebrity, entrepreneur, or personality you know. Please support this campaign.


Edit: Updated to add developer information as per Stomme poes, comments below.
Edit2: Updated to add comments by Joanmarie Diggs.

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3 Responses to ORCA Fundraiser and the HPR New Year Show

  1. Stomme poes says:

    While contacting celebrities and whatnot, don’t forget to contact the actual developer (Joanie), the people she works with (Igalia) or the people on the Orca mailing list (orca-list@gnome.org), who as users are also working as testers, doc writers and bug reporters with Joanie (who, due to fixed bugs in Mozilla’s gecko engine, is doing a large rewrite right now).

  2. Actually, the real problem is that there are a lot of bugs and missing support in accessibility implementations. Orca can only provide access to what is exposed to Orca. Thus what we really need is people to fix bugs and implement support in those applications and/or toolkits including (but not limited to):

    * Thunderbird
    * Gecko
    * Evolution
    * LibreOffice
    * Java (and its Atk Wrapper)
    * GnuCash
    * AbiWord
    * Audacity

    A non-trivial number of “Orca bugs” are actually side effects of trying to hack around problems in the aforementioned items. And in some cases, Orca cannot even hack around the problems. Fixing the issues in the items above would make Orca work a lot better and go much further towards accomplishing the goals of the campaign.

    Also, it would be awesome if the voices used by Orca through Speech Dispatcher (e.g. eSpeak) sounded far less robotic. That, too, would have a significant improvement for Orca users and would be a noteworthy achievement.

    For what it’s worth….

  3. Ash says:

    Hello everyone.

    I have dyskexi, and therefore a lot of spelling errors.
    Have used orcra when I am on my linux machine, solidworks only works on windows.
    Finding money to orcra, can be a major challenge.
    But might not need to be difficult.
    For there are many dyslexics with a lot of money.
    For example Elron Musk, Sir Richard Branson and more.
    If we make a business plan for how we will develop and earn money on Orcra it will definitely be the opportunity to get money
    In Denmark where I live we borrow equipment by the State which is licensed to a company 4 years at the time.
    In this context, there are some problems with Orca.
    Namely, that it does not run on Mac or Windows.
    What a narrow market for getting funds a lot.
    I am not a programmer, which means that I can not fix this problem.
    But it gives no sense that it can only run on Linux.

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