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Pick Your Poison

There are lots of windows managers out there, with varying degrees of accessibility with orca. The one I like most is Ratpoison. It is great because it is very Screen like. The problem is, its dialogs are not accessible. I started a project called strychnine a while back to help fix this problem. After realizing that Ratpoison’s keybindings were nothing more than macros to call ratpoison commands, I made a lot of progress with making pretty much the whole thing accessible to orca. I just replaced the built in dialogs with zenity based dialogs. So, where as contrl+t ? brought up an inaccessible list of keybindings, I just rebound it to run the help file through zenity –text-info. Of course, because so many things are modified, the help file might be more difficult to read. If this is the case, there are resources all over the internet with the list of bindings. I have changed very few of them from their defaults, with a few exceptions. Control+t w will open your web browser instead of the window list. I rebound the window list to control+t apostrophe and, instead of it being a box in which you enter the number or name you want, it brings up a list of open windows, just use the arrows to move to the one you want and press enter. I also added bindings that allow you to switch between open windows with alt+tab and shift+alt+tab. Note that these do not need to be preceeded with control+t.
Also, music player controls are built in as the following prepended with control+t:

Previous Track
Next Track
Volume Down
Volume Up

You can change the default escape key from control+t if you choose. In fact, the default option in the setup file is control+escape. To get strychnine set up, simply do the following:

git clone https://github.com/stormdragon2976/strychnine.git
cd strychnine

If you want to install the default programs used by strychnine, run setup.sh with the -i or –install option. To create a .xinitrc file, needed for starting ratpoison, run setup.sh with the -x or –xinitrc option.
I use the SLiM login manager to start my X session. It is good because it sources the .xinitrc file for its instructions on what to load. Other login managers do not use it though, and so if you use one of them to manage Ratpoison, you may need to do the following:

sudo mkdir -p /usr/share/xsessions
sudo cp /etc/X11/sessions/ratpoison.desktop /usr/share/xsessions/ratpoison.desktop

For more information see https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Ratpoison
Because the code for strychnine is changing rapidly, you may need to recreate the .ratpoisonrc file, (run setup.sh), frequently. For this reason, I made it so you can source the .ratpoisonrc file with control+t control+colon. So there’s no need to restart Ratpoison to apply new changes.
If you have a netbook, old laptop, or just want a lightning fast, easy to use, accessible desktop give Ratpoison with strychnine a try.

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  • Tip Jar