Re: An Open Letter to Oracle on the Topic Of Accessibility

On 02/20/2010 11:46 PM, Kenny Hitt wrote:
Hi.  In my view, Gnome accessibility will never succeed.  It will sometimes get close, but will
never make it all the way.
In the Apple approach, apps are required to be accessible before being included in the operating system.

So they've fixed the dev tools, then? Because in my years of development under OS X, I was stuck using it as a glorified text console as various aspects of XCode weren't accessible.

What about multitrack recording under GarageBand? For years after the introduction of VoiceOver GarageBand was mostly unusable. Then you finally gained the ability to press record and stop, but not to multitrack. And I was using VO from a pre-release 10.4 ISO, disheartened to learn that many of the apps I wanted to use (including iTunes at that time) weren't accessible to me. Some stuff changed when I snagged another 10.5 release, but not as much as I'd have wished. I can't go any higher because my current mac is PPC, though I do hear that 10.6 finally got continuous read functionality on webpages. Also, is Safari supporting ARIA these days?

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not trying to start a GNOME vs. OS X flamewar. I'm not claiming that one is better, nor will I participate in any discussions of that sort. I, too, am disturbed at what is happening in the GNOME accessibility community and worry about the breaking changes that come down the pipeline. But I had two issues with this message.

One is that I think it is disinformation to claim that OS X apps are "required" to be accessible before inclusion in the OS. Unless something has changed in the last few years, that's certainly not the case. Granted, Apple has made a great commitment to accessibility, and I commend them for that even if I don't agree with much of their ideology, but just as with GNOME, Apple breaks things too.

Second, I think it's a very gloomy, pessimistic and vague view. What does it mean to "make it all the way?" Can you point out some examples of some entities who have so we have a goal to shoot for? I assert that Apple isn't, and I think we both assert that neither are GNOME or Microsoft. To whom should we look for examples?

This mail was written on a Linux box in the text console.  Gnome 2.28 just isn't worth the frustration to try posting it under Gnome.

Sorry to hear that it's so difficult for you. This mail was written in a Thunderbird window running under GNOME. Earlier today I was writing Scala code in one window, watching Jetty server logs in another and reloading the accessible AJAX-driven web app I'm developing in Firefox. Late last week I was doing much the same, only running the Android emulator and developing my Android screen reader. I also used OpenOffice many times for various freelance writing gigs, Rhythmbox for podcatching/music playback... I'm curious to know what issues you're having with GNOME that make it so vastly difficult in your situation, and wish you the best of luck at resolving them should that be your desire.

Take care.

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