Re: [orca-list] Concern about Oracle takeover

Hi Zack.

These are indeed uncertain times. Things might turn out to be just fine.
And we'll all look back at this and laugh at how silly we were for ever
worrying. Then again....

Over the years, due to lay-offs and engineers getting redirected to
other tasks, the number of folks actively working more or less full-time
on Orca has progressively diminished. There used to be five; up until
last week, there were two: Will Walker and myself. Although admittedly
we've been diverted into working on things like at-spi over dbus and
WebKitGtk because those things threaten everything which Orca provides
access to at the moment.

And to be sure I'm painting the complete picture: I'm a volunteer
community contributor with a full-time DayJob. I do put in countless
hours (pretty much all of my spare time) into Orca and related issues.
And if I do say so myself, I do a fairly decent job in my contributions.
But my background is not computer science; it's assistive technology. 

What that means is this: Starting last week, due to Oracle's actions,
the number of qualified engineers working full-time to ensure that Orca
users would be able to access the GNOME desktop for the foreseeable
future was zero.

Does that mean you should become strident or panic? I don't think so.
Becoming strident or giving in to panic renders one ineffective. Should
you be concerned? If you care about access to the GNOME desktop, I'd
argue yes. 

It's not that Orca will die -- or be gotten rid of; it's that everything
Orca provides access to will change (or break) faster than a handful of
volunteers can manage to keep up with.

Take care.

On Fri, 2010-02-05 at 16:17 -0800, Zachary Kline wrote:
Hi All,
I just felt that I should way in here as someone who hasn't had much 
involvement with the Gnome accessibility project or Orca developement.  I 
can understand some of the concerns people have mentioned recently.  I 
share a few of them myself.  Nevertheless I feel that it is probably too 
soon to know how any of these corporate takeovers and decisions made at 
the highest levels will impact us.
Voicing our concerns is a good idea, but we mustn't allow ourselves to 
become strident or panic.  I believe that orca development will continue 
despite the current situation.  Open source software is a very powerful 
thing, and surprisingly hard to get rid of once it gets a foot in the 
So these are just my two cents.  I share some of the concerns but I think 
that overall I'm going to wait and see for the present.
All the best,
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