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Unfortunately, it is not important for the blind what it will be. If NVDA will be ever better than 
JAWS it would be great, but until then... it is not.

I hope LibreOffice will be also accessible for a screen reader which mades as many other 
applications accessible as possible.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Alex Midence" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, December 06, 2010 10:00 PM
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-accessibility] Laws and standards

Hi, Christophe,

Yes, I mean those very same agencies.  The agencies that assist with
employment and with funding for assistive technology.  In the matter
of fearing that it is a chancy thing to make these people aware of
things like NVDA because they might decide not to purchase software on
the grounds that free alternatives are available, I would have to say
that this is so very very true!  Honestly, this was a fear of mine for
a time.  This is why the people with whom I did discuss these
technologies were only a very few individuals.  All were themselves
blind and all were told that NVDA has many limitations.  They
downloaded it and found out for themselves.  They also found all the
very good things it does like outstanding support for Firefox, partial
support for Open Office and propper handling of Scintilla-based
editors.  On the matter of language switching, Jaws has excelent
support for this, as you say.  The speech synthesizer provided with
it(the software that makes it talk) is quite good and multilingual.
English (UK and American), Spanish, (Euro and Latin american), French
(Canadian and that of France), German, Finnish, Italian, and Brazilian
Portuguese are all well supported.  NVDA uses Espeak as its primary
synthesizer.  This synth is open source and does ok in English.  I was
not impressed with how it sounded in other languages.   This is
important to me because I speak other languages besides English and I
like to access information in them from time to time.  Espeak is
difficult for me to understand in French, German and Spanish.  And,
you are correct, it does not switch automatically.  With Jaws, I can
visit a website for a company based in Madrid, the official site of a
city in Germany, and a travel site for visiting Paris.  In all cases,
Jaws will automatically switch to the language indicated in the html
tags found in the head of the document.  It will even switch dialects
such as going from UK English to American or, in the case of the sapi
5 voices, American to Australian or Indian English.  Its nice features
notwithstanding, I do think NVDA will eventually surpass Jaws in
functionality most especially when NVDA is set up such that every
application loads it's own configuration file and speech settings.
This is because NVDA uses Python as a scripting language and for much
of its core code whereass Jaws uses a proprietary scripting language
unique to itself which is not as easy to learn as Python and, by
definition is not as widely known as Python.  That is still some time
away though.  Also, NVDA is translated into many more languages than
Jaws so, once Espeak's pronunciation gets cleaned up, and scripts are
written to load the different languages when certain conditions are
met, it'll beat Jaws on that score too.

Alex M

On 12/6/10, Christophe Strobbe <> wrote:
Hi Alex,

At 18:53 6/12/2010, Alex Midence wrote:
(...)  I use Jaws and NVDA as my screen readers in
windows and Orca in Linux.

It is good to hear that there are screen reader users on this list!

(...)  I am relieved to see mention of
closed source, non-free screen readers in this thread.  Believe it or
not, very few people in government agencies (at least the ones here in
Texas) with whom I have spoken have heard of NVDA. (...)

Do you mean agencies that refund (in whole or in part) assistive
technologies? It is true that these agencies are not always aware of
free and open-source alternatives. This is also the case in Belgium,
where I live.
Informing these agencies about free and open-source assistive
technologies is not without risk, unfortunately: they might just say,
for example: "Now that free screen readers are available for Windows,
we will stop refunding JAWS, Window-Eyes, Hal, Supernova, etctera",
without checking if the free alternatives are good enough to replace
the commercial ones.
(I heard this from someone who provides technical advice to such an
agency in Belgium.)
For example, JAWS and Window-Eyes support language switching inside a
document; free alternatives do not necessarily support this and
require the user to switch the TTS language manually.

Best regards,


Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Dept. of Electrical Engineering - SCD
Research Group on Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 bus 2442
B-3001 Leuven-Heverlee
tel: +32 16 32 85 51
Twitter: @RabelaisA11y
"Better products and services through end-user empowerment" -
Please don't invite me to Facebook, Quechup or other "social
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