Re: [g-a-devel] GNOME Launches Campaign for Accessibility

"Sometimes accessibility lags behind…" is an accurate  statement. My question is why Gnome Foundation would consider a11y issues to have a priority lower than any other feature of the software. By permitting a11y to "lag behind" other features, it is effectively put on the back burner and will require  a11y hackers to try to retrofit  access in a most inconvenient manners.

Also, allowing a11y to lag makes my job really hard. I'm trying to convince all sorts of groups to use free software and that free software a11y is good enough to use full time. I'm also trying to convince people that the free software community cares about a11y but the consumers see little evidence to this fact.

Joanie, the Vinux gang, Luke, Mike, etc. are amazing individuals who make incredible contributions. Alas, depending on a few talented and incredibly dedicated hackers for a11y, features we must have to be used in US Federal and a bunch of state government jobs, is severely sub-optimal. I cannot go to someone trying to make a purchasing decision and convince them that the a11y problems will be fixed as they will ask, "by whom?" and I'll be without an answer.

Until a11y bugs are considered showstoppers, my ability to do too much in the "sales" side of GNU Accessibility is hampered. Worse, though, is that many people may lose jobs or be unable to fully participate in the free exchange of ideas via electronic methods - a civil rightthese days.

Happy Hacking,

Director Access Technology
Project GNU/FSF,

On Jan 3, 2012, at 10:10 AM, Brian Cameron wrote:

> Bill:
> It is important to raise visibility for certain accessibility issues
> that are causing real users problems.  I really do understand how
> frustrating it can be when software just does not work properly.  This
> clearly creates very serious issues for users who depend on features
> like accessibility to perform basic tasks.
> When I first started working for Sun Microsystems on GNOME around
> 2003 my first job was working on ATK and GAIL.  I implemented the
> original GtkText and GtkTreeView/GtkTreeModel GAIL code, including
> libgailutil.  I wrote most of the ATK Reference Guide.  Others on my
> team, like Bill Haneman and Padraig O'Briain implemented much of the
> rest of GAIL, ATK and at-spi.
> It was a real effort to get GNOME accessibility to a usable state.  It
> was not until around the GNOME 2.16 timeframe that GNOME really started
> to work and develop a user-base testing these features and providing
> feedback.  Since that time, it has been awesome to see a real community
> develop around GNOME accessibility and its mission to make free
> software available to all users.
> While you are right that GTK+ is very much needing accessibility
> attention, I think your words are too harsh towards the many people
> who have worked hard to support the GNOME infrastructure.  Keep in mind
> that the GTK+ developers have been working hard to make the GTK2->GTK3
> (and GNOME 2->GNOME 3) transition as smooth as possible and that
> accessibility sometimes lags behind new features.  Also, the
> CORBA->D-Bus conversion has been distracting.
> The GNOME Foundation board of directors has been working closely with
> the GNOME accessibility team to help raise momentum.  While I agree the
> GTK module has not received enough accessibility attention over the past
> 2 years, I think we are working together to address that.
> Already a significant amount of work has been done through these
> efforts, and we plan to continue this with the Friends of GNOME
> accessibility campaign.  Through these efforts, we really are striving
> to bring focus back to address important issues like the ones you raise.
> Please help us make our campaign be successful.
> On 12/24/11 10:15 PM, Bill Cox wrote:
>> First of all, I'm a huge fan of people like Mike Gorse and Joanmarie.
>> These people have undertaken the task of helping people like me
>> without the motivation of losing their own vision.  These are the
>> people who I will go to bat for to help fund, to the extent that my
>> limited abilities allow.  On the other hand, we have groups like the
>> GTK+ team that no one here is realistically going to defend.  Their
>> lack of action over the last two years is nothing short of shameful,
>> and if you want to debate it, I've got facts on my side... let's do
>> it.
> It is clearly a shame that accessibility is not currently meeting
> user's needs.  It was also shameful that GNOME 2.16 was the first
> release of GNOME 2 that was usably accessible.  Our goal should be to
> do better with GNOME 3 and have a accessibility enabled well before
> GNOME 3.16 is released.
>> The teams that receive even tiny amounts of funding from Gnome
>> will not speak out about it naturally, but it's true.  Anyone
>> disagree?
>> So, how do we separate the groups that deserve accessibility funding
>> under Gnome from those who seem hell bent on making life painful for
>> the blind?
> The GNOME Accessibility team has a plan to setup a review committee to
> ensure that funds are spent on projects that make the most sense and
> that the right developers are engaged.
> Please believe me that nobody is hell bent on making life painful for
> anyone.  We are hell bent to develop a modern free software desktop.  I
> am sure you understand that the free software development process can
> sometimes be slow and frustrating.
> Brian
> _______________________________________________
> gnome-accessibility-list mailing list
> gnome-accessibility-list gnome org

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