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Re: [Accessibility] Priorities, Ideas?

From: Bill Cox
Subject: Re: [Accessibility] Priorities, Ideas?
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2010 07:40:45 -0700

Hi, Chris.  I'll keep updating the wiki of various Vinux goobers at:

Users are invited to update this as well.  However, it's just a simple
list of issues, not priorities.  If GNU/FSF could help manage
priorities and help organize volunteers, that would be great.

I group tasks into two main areas:

- Vision impairment
- Typing impairment

Within the vision impairment group, I see high priority tasks currently as:

- Performance issues between Orca and Firefox and Thunderbird
- Performance and functionality issues between Orca and Open Office
- Improving Orca to gnome-terminal functionality
- Making QT applications accessible

The main three tasks most users do all the time is web browsing,
e-mail, and document manipulation.  That's why we need to make Orca
snappier with Firefox and Thunderbird, and we need better
functionality wth Open Office.  In reality, most blind Linux users are
experienced bash shell users.  Having poor screen reader functionality
in gnome-terminal pushes many of them to use speakup on the consoles
most of the time.  Many good QT applications exist, and none of them
currently work for the blind in Linux.

Note that these main areas where we need to work are cross-application
issues, which is why other groups haven't already tackled them.  We
need Linux-wide leadership here, not Gnome leadership, or Mozilla
leadership, or Orca leadership.

We've made far less progress in the typing impairment group.  I
believe our top priority here should be enabling programming by voice
natively in Linux.  This would allow the many excellent programmers
with RSI injuries to join FOSS efforts to improve the rest of the

The first glimmer of hope I've seen in the programming by voice area
is from the Simon tool.  It depends on a non-free library to build
speech models, called HTK.  I recently upset a number of people by
recommending we write a FOSS version of that library.  However, some
knowledgeable people informed me that it is possible to build less
accurate voice models today using Sphinx, and it should not be too
hard to get them working with Simon.  It seems to me that this is
currently the most viable short-term path to creating Debian
compatible packages for programming by voice.


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