Unity should have a screen magnifier

Bug #603415 reported by John Baptist on 2010-07-09
This bug affects 11 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
unity (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: gnome-control-center

In gnome-keybindings-properties, in the Accessibility section, there are three entries by default: toggle magnifier, toggle screen reader, and toggle on-screen keyboard. None of these work, whether or not Assistive Technologies is currently running and whether or not orca is currently running.

WHAT I EXPECT TO HAPPEN: I should be able to configure a shortcut to any of these actions, such as Ctrl-Alt-A to the Toggle magnifier action. Then, pressing, Ctrl-Alt-A will start the magnifier.

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS: I am able to modify the entry in the gnome-keybindings-properties window, but pressing the designated key does not perform any action. That is, the magnifier does not open. Changing the hotkeys for other actions works okay.

WHY THIS IS BAD: This is confusing and misleading behavior, and can be especially damaging for people who need the accessibility features. Ideally, the keybindings should be fixed, but otherwise they should be removed from the dialog.

This is true under up-to-date Lucid 10.04 tested on several systems.

Kenny Meyer (knny-myer) wrote :

I have reproduced the same error on my system, also Ubuntu Lucid.

Kenny Meyer (knny-myer) on 2010-07-09
Changed in gnome-control-center (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Charlie Kravetz (charlie-tca) wrote :

Thanks for reporting this bug and any supporting documentation. Since this bug has enough information provided for a developer to begin work, I'm going to mark it as confirmed and let them handle it from here. Thanks for taking the time to make Ubuntu better!

tags: added: a11y
removed: accessibility
Changed in gnome-control-center (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

is that still an issue in Oneiric?

John Baptist (jepst79) wrote :

Yes, it is.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

then somebody having the issue should send the bug to GNOME

John Baptist (jepst79) wrote :

I'm not convinced that this is a GNOME bug. First of all, it doesn't appear in other distributions (at least not in Fedora). Second, given the fairly radical changes that Ubuntu has made to the user interface in recent versions (e.g. Unity), I wouldn't be surprised if loss of Accessibility functionality was a side-effect. Maybe someone could take a look at it?

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Comment #1 says it was already an issue in lucid which is using a not so patched GNOME 2.30, that doesn't seem related to Unity, would still need debugging by somebody who understands how accessibility tools are working (which seems to not be a lot of people there)

Changed in gnome-control-center (Ubuntu):
importance: Medium → Low
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Ok, I just tried on a fresh Oneiric test installation from this week, assigned shift-Z to "toggle onscreen keyboard", then I pressed shift-Z and got onboard open on screen... I can't confirm the issue

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

the keys works fine in Oneiric, i.e the magnifier toggle turn on and off org.gnome.desktop.a11y.applications screen-magnifier-enabled in dconf-editor ... do you know what the magnifier does in GNOME2 or gnome-fallback in GNOME? I can see that gnome-shell has its own feature to do zooming but how did it work before gnome-shell?

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Luke, do you know what the screen magnifier is supposed to do?

John Baptist (jepst79) wrote :

It's true that the toggle changes, but on my system the magnifier does not appear or in fact magnify.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

right, did it used to work in GNOME2? something should magnify, gnome-shell does it not sure otherwise

John Baptist (jepst79) wrote :

There was a program named /usr/bin/magnifier in the gnome-mag package which allegedly provided magnification under GNOME2, but it wasn't started by Accessibility services correctly, and even if started manually, it still didn't work. In Oneiric, that package exists but is not installed by default and in any case isn't apparently used by Accessibility. I don't know what Ubuntu's solution to magnification is under Unity or Classic desktops in Oneiric.

The best solution for users of magnificatino in Oneiric is the COmpiz eZoom plugin, however it does not have focus tracking support, and does not magnify any parts of Unity, i.e the panel, dash, and laucner all stay the same size, whilst the rest of the user's desktop is magnified.

We don't have anything for users who do not have supported/working 3D hardware.

While the Compiz Zoom plugin might be appropriate for advanced users, modulo the significant caveats you mentioned, it requires manually configuring Compiz with ccsm, which is not installed by default, and which is beyond the capability of most users. It is therefore not an appropriately general solution for Ubuntu.

In any case, this bug is not about the lack of zoom functionality (which is a problem) but rather that the integration of zoom functionality with the desktop is broken.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Ok, since gnome-shell has a screen magnifier let's say it's an unity issue and it should have one as well

affects: gnome-control-center → unity
Changed in gnome-control-center (Ubuntu):
importance: Low → Wishlist
summary: - Accessibility keybindings don't work
+ Unity should have a screen magnifier
affects: gnome-control-center (Ubuntu) → unity (Ubuntu)
John Baptist (jepst79) wrote :

Sebastian, again, that's a different issue. Yes, Unity should have a magnifier, but until it does, it is a proper Bug (rather than a Wish) that a magnification feature is offered by the Accessibility manager but doesn't actually do anything. Users who depend on that feature will be very confused by the fact that a non-functional UI exists to enable magnification. The bug, then, is that the magnification UI in system settings should be removed or fixed.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

That UI does what it's supposed to do, it updates the dconf settings, the issue is that nothing on the frontend side is reacting to the changes. What would you suggest doing? Hiding the actions on what logic? It seems a better fix to just make sure there is some magnifier picking up the actions and doing the work that to hide the option...

Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2011-10-25
Changed in unity:
status: New → Triaged
tags: added: zoom
Franck (alci) wrote :

I can confirm the problem. One of my colleagues has worthening vision problems. Specialists send by the "sécurité sociale" speak of using ZoomText (http://www.aisquared.com/zoomtext/more/zoomtext_magnifier) which is a paying Windows only application...
Turning to my LUG, I've been sent to kwin zoom mode (kde), gnome3 accessibility zoom. But no solution for Unity. Well, my colleague will probably switch to another environment, but this should definitely be addressed (not to mention cases where such features must be compulsory to compete in some gov calls for tender).
My two cents...

Vishnu Babykumar (yoheos) wrote :

Screen magnifier, visual alerts do not work on Ubuntu 13.04 x64 as well. Orca reader and On-Screen Keyboard do work. The same features work on Ubuntu Gnome 13.04 x64. So should be an issue with Unity not finding the right magnifying app when the option is turned ON under Accessibility Menu.

To post a comment you must log in.
This report contains Public information  Edit
Everyone can see this information.

Duplicates of this bug

Other bug subscribers