In-Process 22nd April 2024

Welcome to the 17th week of 2024! And welcome to In-Process. Let’s jump right in:

NVDA 2024.1

A fortnight in, how is NVDA 2024.1 going for you? We’ve had lots of really positive reports! Have you tried the headline features we’ve been talking about recently? “On Demand” speech mode? Native Selection Mode? Add-on store bulk actions? Or is it the little changes which have made all the difference? An update to eSpeak-NG or LibLouis perhaps? Better reporting of control+backspace in LibreOffice? Improved Multi-line Braille support with BRLTTY?

Have you found a surprise new bug? As always, if anything doesn’t seem quite right, a couple of things to try first off:

  • Restart the PC. We often see issues immediately after people update software. Restarting the PC often fixes these
  • Restart NVDA with add-ons disabled. Sometimes add-ons can cause issues. Knowing whether this makes a difference helps narrow down where a possible issue may lie

NVDA’s add-on store includes the ability to override version compatibility checks. This can be done on an individual add-on basis. It’s important to note that this does NOT make an incompatible add-on work with the current version. It simply stops NVDA checking.

After all that, if you HAVE found a surprise new bug, please do create an issue on GitHub, or let us know.

Add-on updates

We know that breaking add-on compatibility is not the most popular “feature” of NVDA. For consistency, we do these releases as the first release each year. So: NVDA 2023.1, NVDA 2024.1, NVDA 2025.1, etc. But they are for a good reason. Primarily, components we rely on (like Python) get updated and we need to update to stay secure. The version check means that you know an add-on designed for the latest version of NVDA should work with that version. If an add-on calls code which has changed since it was written, it could have unexpected consequences. This could include crashing the PC and requiring a restart.

We ask add-on developers to check their add-on before declaring compatibility with the .1 version each year (e.g. NVDA 2024.1). Developers should start testing for compatibility during the beta period. We do not make any deliberate changes to the API after this point, although there may need to be fixes after this. We ask developers to declare compatibility once the first Release Candidate comes out. We publish the breaking changes up to a year in advance. Add-on authors are very familiar with what changes are coming in the future. We very much appreciate our add-on authors and the great work you do, thank you to all our amazing add-on community!

A couple of weeks in, we are at around 75% of add-ons updated to NVDA 2024.1. That’s good, but what really blew me away was the number of add-ons we have. The NVDA add-on store contains 182 add-ons! (of which 134 declare compatibility with NVDA 2024.1 so far).

Looking at the old add-on site we used to use, which had only 114 add-ons in total when it was last updated around this time last year. So we’re already well above that, and we expect most of the rest to get on board soon. If your favourite hasn’t been updated yet, please do reach out to the add-on author. You should find contact info (or at least the name and web page to go to) in the add-on’s “Other details” section in the add-on store.

Microsoft FOSS Fund

Microsoft announced their latest round of FOSS fund grants. We’re thrilled to share that NV Access are among this quarter’s recipients!

From the Foss Fund page: “The Microsoft FOSS Fund provides a direct way for Microsoft engineers to participate in the nomination and selection process to help communities and projects they are passionate about.

A project of the Microsoft Open Source Programs Office, the FOSS Fund provides up to $10,000 USD in sponsorships to open source projects as selected by Microsoft employees. To help drive an open contribution culture across Microsoft, employees are eligible to select projects for the fund when they participate in projects that are not governed by Microsoft.”

Congratulations also to The GNU Compiler Collection, Urllib3, CLAP, MSW and the other recipients this year!

Philanthropy Australia Awards 2024

This week, NV Access were also extremely honoured to be a finalist for a Philanthropy Australia Awards in the “Inclusion” category. The awards ceremony was held in Sydney on Tuesday evening. We would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the very deserving winner in this category: The Damion Drapac Centre and Damion Drapac Scholarships for Vocational Doctors. It was an honour to be nominated, and then to be shortlisted.

Michael Curran holding the finalist certificate for the Inclusion award at the Philanthropy Australia Awards 2024.

Michael Curran at the Australian Philanthropy Awards 2024 – Photo courtesy Daniel Kukec Photography

Interview with Dr Gerald Hartig and Peter Greco

Recently, Peter Greco interviewed our Chief Technology Officer, Dr Gerald Hartig for Focal Point.

Peter stated: “I’m sure we will all benefit greatly from Gerald’s appointment.” We agree!

You can download Gerald’s interview from the Focal Point page. download April 10th edition, Gerald is about 40 minutes in.

Quentin back in the community

If you are a regular in the NVDA Users E-mail list or many of the other community groups, you may recently have noticed, or not noticed, Quentin from NV Access (that’s me!). Usually, a regular in the groups, I’ve been out of the office for much of the past month. I am only just catching up on everything. I want to thank the community for your patience, and for stepping up and helping your fellow community members while I’ve been away. Of course, if there is anything you haven’t had answered, or really want to get in front of us, which I might have missed, please do get in touch.

That’s all for this week. How have you found NVDA 2024.1? If you haven’t downloaded it yet, please check out the NVDA 2024.1 release announcement.