Re: [g-a-devel] Status of IBM a11y
- From: Jason White <jasonw ariel its unimelb edu au>
- To: gnome-accessibility-devel gnome org, gnome-accessibility-list gnome org
- Subject: Re: [g-a-devel] Status of IBM a11y
- Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2007 16:27:37 +1000
On Fri, Jun 01, 2007 at 11:00:45PM -0700, Peter Korn wrote:
> As someone working for one of those small number of companies working on
> GNOME, Mozilla, etc. accessibility, I couldn't agree with you more. I
> am appreciative of the contributions IBM has made to our work - perhaps
> in the future we will see a resumption of their effort.
Agreed. Those efforts have been substantial and, no doubt, are appreciated by
all involved in this area. Of course, the concentration of IBM-sponsored
work, under the new arrangements, on Mozilla, Aria and other cross-platform
accessibility solutions will yield direct benefits to Unix and Linux users. It
will mean, however, that the Gnome/ATK-specific development will have to take
> I also want to recognize some of the (now not so) new - and wonderfully
> steady - contributions from the Ubuntu accessibility effort. They are
> bringing wonderful energy to our community, and also doing a lovely job
> of bringing Summer of Code funding, which in turn can help foster new
> engineering talent into the field.
> We also have a growing body of individual contributors to specific
> pieces of the overall accessibility task. In particular, the Orca
> project has gathered a growing collection of folks making significant
> contributions. I fear I might miss some if I tried to name them (the
> Orca change logs tell this tale much more eloquently in any case). I
> think one way we grow the community is around specific accessibility
> needs like vision impairments.
Yes. I would also note the excellent technical collaboration between platform
accessibility developers (especially around Orca) and related community
projects, including Speech Dispatcher and BRLTTY (the ones that I notice most,
but there are others as well).
> One place I continue hoping will become a real source of energy are the
> disability organizations - like various national organizations for the
> blind. For so very long the primary - and perhaps sole - tool of
> disability organizations to improve technology access has been
> advocacy. Disability organizations pushing industry through letters and
> laws and lawsuits to develop accessible products and technology. But
> open source provides a new and powerful tool to disability organizations
> and the disability community overall. I encourage everyone who is a
> member of a disability organization on this alias to consider ways of
> having those organizations formally get involved in improving open
> source accessibility solutions. So many of these organizations have as
> a goal increasing the digital literacy of their constituents, and
> improving their access information, services, and the Internet. Also
> improving the dismal rates of employment of people with disabilities.
> Open source accessibility is one of the best vehicles I can think of to
> move rapidly on those goals.
I agree wholeheartedly with the above. There are very innovative
disability-related organizations which have made their presence felt, in
positive ways, in standards bodies with which I've been associated. They have
also, in some cases, engaged in open-source/free software development.
I am sure they can also make contributions in this area, although I'm not
personally associated with any such organisations, thus can't have a direct
On the other hand, I strongly suspect there are further potential contributors
who don't yet appreciate the opportunities that open development models offer.
The old, proprietary mindset of lobbying corporations to get work done, and of
believing that technical expertise lies elsewhere - that software is produced
by proprietary vendors and consumed by everyone else - needs to undergo a
> Separate from all that, as someone who has been part of the GNOME and
> OpenOffice.org accessibility efforts since their beginning (and part of
> the Mozilla accessibility effort since the start of the UNIX portion of
> it), I very much welcome any suggestions you have for what I and Sun can
> do to further help bring more developers from a wider spectrum of
> organizations into our community.
I think you, and Sun developers more broadly, have made extraordinary
contributions to this community and to the software that has emerged from it.
I also firmly believe it is in everyone's interests to ensure that the
community grows and thrives.
As further ideas come to mind I'll be sure to contribute them to this
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