Re: [g-a-devel]Re: Blind accessible interface

[Thanks Christian for forwarding this email.  I am CCing the
gnome-accessibility-list gnome org as well; that second list 
is less technical and may be interested in my reply also.]

Hi Charlie:

I apologize for the fact that our online documentation is frequently
outdated... fortunately in our case this is not because the projects
are moribund, but the opposite; development is proceeding rapidly
aggressive schedules, so documentation often takes a back seat.

Of course this should not be allowed to go on too long <smile>.

Most parts of the GNOME accessibility framework are proceeding 
concurrently.  Though none are 100% complete, our goal is to have
reasonably complete coverage of the framework from the application
layer down to the interfaces used by the assistive technology in
time for GNOME 2.0.  

Of course from the user perspective the question is, what 
level of end-to-end support will be visible in GNOME 2.0, 
and what does the roadmap for end-to-end support look like...
such support requires not only the framework but both 
accessibility-enabled applications and assistive technologies,
e.g. the framework needs clients at "both ends".

Two full-featured assistive technologies ('Gnopernicus', an integrated 
screenreader and magnifier) and GOK (dynamic virtual keyboards for the
mobility impaired) are currently under development, and are free and 
open-source software available as part of the GNOME project umbrella.
Both are in early prototype stages now, but Gnopernicus does offer
initial support for both speech and braille at this time, and we are 
hoping that these projects will be in a state suitable for initial
evaluation and testing sometime this spring.  At the moment both 
assistive technologies are in a "running condition" but it is not 
something a non-expert user would want to attempt just yet.

On the application front, at the moment any applications built entirely 
from the GTK+ toolkit, version 2, using stock components, will be
fully accessible under GNOME accessibility, with the possible exception
of bugs and application features that somehow defeat the built-in
We are providing developer guidelines to help reduce the incidence of
such problems.  However most "real world" applications contain at least
one custom component or component from other GNOME user interface
libraries, and we are still in the process of adding support for such
additional components.  Our goal is to see a "fully accessible"
GNOME 2 desktop in the foreseeable future, but this is a long-term goal.
The fact that most GNOME applications are open-source offers the
possibility of hastening this day, since developers and even
end users have the opportunity to find, report, and fix accessibility
bugs and offer patches back to the application maintainers.  We are
optimistic and excited about the prospect of some traditional barriers
accessibility fixes and improvements being lowered in this way.

I should also mention that although this project is referred to as
the "GNOME" accessibility project, the architecture has been expressly
designed to be platform-neutral wherever possible.  That means that the
GNOME accessibility libraries may be used to support accessibility on
Solaris, GNU-Linux, or any other operating system on which the GNOME
libraries can be installed, even if the OS is not running GNOME as its
primary "desktop".  Of course the framework is being developed using 
GNOME technologies, and will be integrated and deployed with GNOME, but 
it can be used on non-GNOME platforms and has the potential to offer
accessibility for applications other than those using GTK+ and Java.

To recap, we have an end goal of making a core subset of the GNOME
"accessibility-enabled" by the GNOME 2.0 community release, now slated
March of this year.  Although it's impractical for us to make
guarantees about individual components or schedules, hope to have the
desktop "panel", help browser, terminal emulator, control center, and
utilities accessibility-ready by this time or very shortly thereafter. 
cannot speak for the Gnopernicus team but I believe that their goal is
have a usable or at least testable screenreader available soon after
that date.  
We also expect to have full support for applications using the Java
API as well, integrated with the GNOME framework.

We certainly welcome feedback, suggestions, encouragement, and of course
assistance from all interested parties, and as the framework matures it 
becomes more practical to accept actual code contributions from outside 
the "GNOME" community (that is to say that it becomes easier to
without requiring total immersion in the project - we have never
turned anyone away!)  Documentation is likely to remain an
effort in the near term.  

Certainly we will be eager to hear comments from ACB and other
with longstanding expertise and authority in the field.  

Thanks for you interest, and your message!  If I can answer any more
specific questions about status or other topics don't hesitate to ask.

Best regards,


'GNOME Accessibility Architect'

 On Thu, 2002-01-31 at 12:52, Charles Crawford wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> >       I went to your website this morning to have a look around for developments
> > in accessibility to Linux user interfaces from text based command line to
> > X-Windows.  My reason is that I am the Executive Director of the American
> > Council of the Blind and we have a serious interest in access for our
> > members to high performance systems and apps that are accessible.
> >
> >       I wonder if you could point me to where I can research the state of the
> > art?  I did check out the accessibility and project pages, but was
> > successful in getting to the status info I was seraching ut.
> >
> > -- Charlie Crawford.

> _______________________________________________
> Gnome-accessibility-devel mailing list
> Gnome-accessibility-devel gnome org

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