KDE Accessibility Howto

Accessibility on kde is not quite up to speed yet. We are close to working well with people with different disabilities, but not quite there yet. At least on linux. One key ingredient that is missing is qt-at-spi which bridges Qt applications to at-spi2.

For a brief overview of how accessibility works on linux platforms, take a look at

Setup a test environment

What you'll need

In order to set up a test environment to help improve qt-at-spi (or at-spi itself) You'll need a few things. Orca can be installed from your distribution, as can accerciser, however accerciser will need to be run in a particular way to work with at-spi2 as I'll mention later. You'll also need at-spi2-core and at-spi2-atk to test gtk applications. You'll also need pyatspi2. The simplest way to get these is to clone them from the following git urls:


Then proceed to build them by running ./ && make && make install (or sudo make install if your user doesn't have write privileges to /usr/local)

How to test at-spi2 with gtk

Once these are installed, you can then test at-spi2 by running gcalctool with a few environment variables set. As mentioned on the at-spi dbus site under "Instructions for Testing" you'll need some environment variables set. I use a file called ~/.a11ybashrc with the following contents:

export GTK_PATH=/usr/local/lib/gtk-2.0/
export PYTHONPATH=/usr/local/lib/python2.6/site-packages/
export GTK_MODULES=gail:atk-bridge

then I just source ~/.a11ybashrc to set up my shell for testing accessibility.

Then to test just run gcalctool with gcalctool & from that shell. You should see at-spi2-registryd in your process table once gcalctool has started. If not you are likely still using at-spi instead of at-spi2. You can use d-feet or qdbusviewer, or just qdbus to inspect the dbus interface of the registry and the accessible methods of the application at this point. You should also be able to run orca and hear the text of the calculator tool at this point.

How to test at-spi2 with Qt

Once you have a gtk app running correctly with orca and/or accerciser you are ready to try qt-at-spi. In order to do so, just clone the repo from git:// run qmake && make && make install. There is a handy calculator in qt-at-spi under the test folder that can be used to test qt's at-spi plugin with. Make sure QT_ACCESSIBILITY is set in your environment and run test/test from the source folder of qt-at-spi. You should see some console message about the bridge initializing. You'll also see the calculator's dbus path in the org.a11y.atspi.Registry GetChildren output.

This page was last edited on 30 May 2019, at 12:22. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.