Good luck, and thanks for being a friend... I'll mention that now because
you are in for a ride ;-)
The Java Accessibility API on Windows via the Java Access Bridge (JAB)
connector to LibreOffice/ApacheOpenOffice UNO Accessibility API has fidelity
problems for Assistive Technology like the JAWS screen reader or the open
source NVDA project by NV Access.
The current JAB bridge, v2.0.3 on Java JDK 7 and the JRE 1.7u > 6, has
been rendered non-functional by an Oracle design flaw, so we are advising
folks to stay with Java JDK 6 and JRE 1.6u41 and JAB v2.0.2
Details for that are in this LibreOffice wiki Faq/General/a11y/Java
Dependency on the Java Accessibility API for Windows will be eliminated by
implementation of a native IAccessible2 bridge to the UNO Accessibility API
of LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice. IBM implemented an IAccessible2
bridge in its Lotus Symphony product, the current version of which, v3.0.1
can still be downloaded for free use. IBM is still supporting the product
which received a fix-pack in November 2012.
You can download IBM Lotus Symphony from links on this set of release notes
, but also obtain and apply the fix-packs. Unfortunately these are difficult
downloads to navigate, so as @Tanstaafl suggests your best bet would be a
remote desktop capability to assist your friend with setup and maintenance.
IBM contributed the source code for Symphony through v3, to the Apache
Foundation and its developers are working on the Apache OpenOffice project
to integrate many components of the Symphony product including its
IAccessible2 implementation. An ongoing development branch is in QA testing
of AT function and that IAccessible2 code will be merged with the main
build at some point. And it is likely that LibreOffice will integrate some
form of the Apache OpenOffice IAccessible2 bridge at some point--but that
work has not yet started.
For now, the *cross-platform* office suite choices are to stay with a 32-bit
JRE 1.6 and JAB v2.0.2 installation--use the JWin installer as noted on the
wiki page and LibreOffice 4.0.1 or Apache OpenOffice 3.4.1. They have
comparable levels of support for Assistive Technology. Or to install Lotus
Symphony for a notably better IAccessible2 screen reader AT.
And of course a mix of JAWS, or NVDA, and Microsoft's User Interface
Automation and SAPI 5.4 does provide very good AT when used with a Microsoft
Office Product. So the "ribbon" GUI can be tamed--then just an issue of cost
and effort and whether you can stomach a Microsoft centric solution.
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