ChromeVox on Desktop Linux

Starting ChromeVox

On Chrome OS, you can enable spoken feedback (ChromeVox) by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Z.


If you have a Chromebook, this gives you speech support built-in. If you're building Chrome from source and running it on desktop Linux, speech and braille won't be included by default. Here's how to enable it.

Compiling the Chrome OS version of Chrome

Create a GN configuration with "chromeos" as the target OS, for example:


> gn args out/ChromeOSRelease


...in editor, add these lines:


target_os = "chromeos"

is_component_build = true

is_debug = false

enable_nacl = true

...


Now build Chrome as usual, e.g.:


ninja -C out/ChromeOSRelease chrome


And run it as usual to see a mostly-complete Chrome OS desktop inside of a window:


out/ChromeOSRelease/chrome


By default you'll be logged in as the default user. If you want to simulate the login manager too, run it like this:


out/ChromeOSRelease/chrome --login-manager


You can run any of the above under it’s own X session (avoiding any window manager key combo conflicts) by doing something like

Startx $HOME/chrome/src/out/ChromeOSRelease/chrome

Speech

If you want speech, you just need to copy the speech synthesis data files to /usr/share like it would be on a Chrome OS device:


git clone https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromiumos/platform/assets

sudo mv assets /usr/share/chromeos-assets

cd /usr/share/chromeos-assets/speech_synthesis/patts

# Unzip only one of the Native Client executables for your machine architecture

Unzip tts_service_x86-64.nexe.zip

sudo chmod oug+r -R /usr/share/chromeos-assets


# check permissions of /usr/share/chromeos-assets, some users report they need to chmod too


After you do that, just run "chrome" as above (e.g. out/Release/chrome) and press Ctrl+Alt+Z, and you should hear it speak! If not, check the logs.

Braille

ChromeVox uses extension APIs to deliver braille to Brltty through libbrlapi and uses Liblouis to perform translation and backtranslation.


Once built, Chrome and ChromeVox will use your machine’s running Brltty daemon to display braille if ChromeVox is running. Simply ensure you have a display connected before running Chrome and that Brltty is running.


Testing against the latest releases of Brltty (e.g. 5.4 at time of writing) is encouraged.


For more general information, see ChromeVox (for developers)

Using ChromeVox

ChromeVox keyboard shortcuts use Search. On Linux that's usually your Windows key. If some shortcuts don't work, you may need to remove Gnome keyboard shortcut bindings, or remap it.


Search+Space: Click

Search+Left/Right: navigate linearly

Search+Period: Open ChromeVox menus

Search+H: jump to next heading on page




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