Accessibility issue when creating a key using MacGPG

robin's Avatar


09 May, 2012 01:26 PM

I've just downloaded the latest version of MacGPG (GnuPG/MacGPG2) 2.0.17) on my Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.3.
As I only would like to use GPG from the console (Terminal), I only downloaded the MacGPG package and not the complete installer. Now, when I open up the Terminal and run this to create a new keypair:
gpg --gen-key

I'm prompted with the usual questions just fine. However, once I get to the part where I need to enter my passphrase it gets kind of problematic. As it seems, MacGPG does not prompt for it on the command line, but rather opens up a window where it has to be entered. Now, here's the problem I have with that: as I'm completely blind, I use Voice Over, a screen reader built into Mac OS in order to access my Mac using a speech synthesizer. Unfortunately, the window that comes up asking for the passphrase is completely inaccessible to Voice Over, and thus I'm currently unable to enter the passphrase and generate the keys. So, I was wondering if there is a way of bypassing this, e.g. using a command line argument which will allow me to type in the passphrase using the command line.
So, it would be great if you could give me some more info on this so I can find a way of dealing with the issue - thanks a lot!!! :-)

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Luke Le on 09 May, 2012 03:30 PM

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    Hi Robin,

    unfortunately from what we've seen it's a either or kind of problem.
    So either graphical or terminal and not configurable using command line options.
    But if you tell us, what an application would usually prompt you for, we'd be happy to add Voice Over support.

  2. 2 Posted by robin on 09 May, 2012 04:54 PM

    robin's Avatar

    Hi Luke,
    thanks for the quick reply! Ah, I see... Well, is this graphical vs. terminal decision made when compiling MacGPG, or at some other point when building the binary package? If there's any documentation on how to do this, then maybe I could go ahead and compile my own version from the source and add terminal support, but I'm really not sure how complex that would be, so it's just an idea...
    As for the passphrase window, that's really a good question. First off though, thanks a lot for your willingness to try and make it Voice Over compatible! Actually, I don't really think the contents / UI elements within that window are the problem. A window with some text, a text box for entering the passphrase and one or more buttons are no problem with Voice Over, and neither are any other UI components offered by Apple. I think the problem might be where the window is actually located, which I wasn't able to figure out by myself. Is it something that should appear on the desktop as a kind of overlay? Or could it, in theory, pop up on top of any already running application? Does this window have an actual title set, or is it really just a window with only the passphrase dialog?
    While I'm not a Mac OS developer myself, I've often noticed that such things can lead to Voice Over not properly detecting the window. Also, it can sometimes help to associate a window with a specific program so that Voice Over can determine which elements belong to which application. Those are just some ideas that flooded into my mind when I thought about the issue, and I hope at least one of them will be of any help. Apple actually does a whole lot to make accessible developing as easy as possible, providing ways to label UI components and lots of documentation on the topic within the Developer Center.
    Hopefully this is only a small issue, but I'm quite confident that it's just something that has to be labelled properly or any such small detail. If maybe you could just check and see if there's anything you can do to fix it, I'd greatly appreciate that!
    Also, I'd like to say that I just tried out Keychain Access and found that to be completely usable and accessible with Voice Over. Actually, I was able to go through all the steps necessary to generate the key, up to the point where the passphrase window should have come up... So, you and the rest of your team have definitely done a lot in that direction, it's only this little thing that isn't working! :-)
    Thanks a lot for any help, and keep up the great work!

  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by Steve on 17 May, 2012 03:20 PM

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    To me this sounds like pinentry is the culprit here. And we'll have to figure out why Voice Over does not recognize that window correctly. Can someone confirm this assertion.

    Then we'll create a ticket for it and see what we can do.

    All the best and thanks a lot for your feedback. We rely on such feedback to improve the tools.

    All the best,

  4. Support Staff 4 Posted by Steve on 22 May, 2012 11:25 AM

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    I have created a ticket for this problem. Can't give any ETA but we are looking into it.

    Hope we can solve this (we've had another blind user having the exact same problem).

    All the best and thanks for your feedback :)

  5. 5 Posted by robin on 22 May, 2012 04:22 PM

    robin's Avatar

    Hey Steve,
    thanks a lot for creating the new ticket and for passing it on to the right people, greatly appreciated!!! :-) I figured out some more details today and was actually able to come up with a workaround, which I already added to the ticket.
    Thanks a lot once again, and have a great day! :-)

  6. Support Staff 6 Posted by Steve on 23 May, 2012 01:36 PM

    Steve's Avatar

    thx, well have a look at that.

  7. Support Staff 7 Posted by Steve on 04 Jun, 2012 05:56 PM

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    Hey Robin, we've a ticket for this now. Please subscribe to the ticket if you want to be notified of changes being made in regards to this issue:

    Closing this discussion. Feel free to drop us a line about other issues or should you need further help.


  8. Steve closed this discussion on 04 Jun, 2012 05:56 PM.

  9. Support Staff 8 Posted by Steve on 17 Jun, 2013 12:29 PM

    Steve's Avatar

    Hey Robin,

    I'm very happy that I can confirm this issue is fixed. Since we had several blind users reporting this, it's great we were able to get this fixed.

    Could you please visit our nightly builds and download the latest GPGTools-XXXn.dmg file.

    Run that on your system and see if the problem persists.

    All the best, steve

  10. Steve closed this discussion on 17 Jun, 2013 12:29 PM.

  11. robin re-opened this discussion on 17 Jun, 2013 12:56 PM

  12. 9 Posted by robin on 17 Jun, 2013 12:56 PM

    robin's Avatar

    Hi Steve and all,
    thank you so much for your message and for working so hard to fix this problem! I've just tested the nightly build and can confirm it works absolutely beautifully now, so awesome job!!!
    Signing and encrypting messages using GPG just got so much more fun now :-) Really excellent job, you should be proud about this great accomplishment!!! :-)
    Keep up the totally amazing work, and hopefully development for the upcoming Mac OS 10.9 will be much easier than it was for 10.8!
    All the best,

  13. Support Staff 10 Posted by Steve on 17 Jun, 2013 07:38 PM

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    Thanks for your kind words, Robin. Glad it works for you. If you run into further trouble you can always open a new discussion.

    Have fun using GPGTools :)

  14. Steve closed this discussion on 17 Jun, 2013 07:38 PM.

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