Accessibility/Getting Started

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  • Working at-spi 2 (D-Bus at-spi)
  • Either build Qt 4.8 yourself (see below) or find distribution packages.


For openSUSE there is a package.

Ubuntu ships an outdated version of the plugin in 11.10 which will crash. Expect a better experience in 12.4.

Getting the Latest Code

Building Qt in your home directory

Only needed when you want to test the latest or your distribution does not have Qt 4.8 packages yet.

If you want to build Qt in you home directory, follow these instructions, otherwise skip to the next section.

git clone git:// ~/qt4
cd ~/qt4
git checkout 4.8
./configure -confirm-license -opensource -no-phonon -debug -no-webkit -fast
make -j2

You do not have to make install. The configure options build without Phonon which avoids some problems with KDE applications that ship their own Phonon.

After building Qt, you need to export a few variables so that it will be found by applications.

export QTDIR="~/qt4"
export PATH=$QTDIR/bin:$PATH

Updating Qt

Once you have Qt built in your home directory, you might want to update it at some point. To fetch the latest patches and build them do:

cd ~/qt4
git pull
make -j2

Bridge plugin

This is the plugin that makes Qt communicate with AT-SPI via D-Bus.

Once you have Qt 4.8, building this plugin is easy.

git clone git://
cd qt-at-spi
make install

You might need to use qmake-qt4 or qmake4 if you have qmake default to the Qt 3 version. When building with system Qt, you'll have to use sudo to make install.

Updating the bridge

To update to the latest version of the bridge:

cd qt-at-spi
make install

Running KDE/Qt applications

Before starting an application you will have to set the environment variables as mentioned above if you build your own Qt. Otherwise just set:


Then start the application in the same terminal.

Sometimes it may be interesting to run an application with a different style as the styles can influence behavior, such as how the menu is handled. To start for example KMail with the plastique style, run:

kmail -style plastique

Notes for styles:

  • plastique lets you access the menu by pressing the ALT key. You then need to press TAB to go from one menu item to the next. In order to open a menu you need to press the shortcut it reads, such as ALT+f for File.
  • oxygen doesn't react to pressing ALT. It requires to press ALT+f for example. There are configure options that seem to break even this behavior.


Please report problems you encounter on the [email protected].

Qt 4.8.0

  • The basics should work, Orca reads focused widgets
  • Many text editing widgets do not updated properly when editing or selecting text

Qt 4.8.1

You can grab the 4.8 branch from gitorious.

  • Better support in text editing widgets

Open issues

For More Information