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Re: [Accessibility] Call to Arms

From: Eric S. Johansson
Subject: Re: [Accessibility] Call to Arms
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 14:07:21 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20100713 Thunderbird/3.1.1

 On 7/25/2010 10:52 PM, Richard Stallman wrote:
     If I can't make money, software philosophy doesn't matter.

You're entitled to your views, but the GNU Project is based on the
opposite principle: freedom is the highest priority.  We consider
proprietary software an injustice, and our goal is to free people from

      the most important thing, a solution to disabled users.

If the "solution" includes proprietary software, it's not a solution;
it is the problem we are trying to eliminate.

     yeah I thought so. Look higher up in the definition of freedom to economic

What you are calling "economic freedom" is not freedom at all.
I think you have stretched the definition of freedom out of
all sense.
maybe right. Maybe I did use the term the wrong way but is based on the observation that If you don't have money you can't make choices. If you can't make choices, you don't have freedom.
     They can't use linked in or write an e-mail
     message. Web forums, Facebook, Google, USENET, IRC are all off limits to 

That is unfortunate but it isn't a matter of freedom.  There was a
time when I couldn't do these things, but I had freedom.  However,
if I did them using proprietary software, I would not have freedom.

I've been there and I'm still there. Let's say I bought into the philosophy. I would get rid of my computer because a free system that I can't use is fundamentally useless. I would not participate in mailing list like this because I can't type that much. I would not be able to use government websites to sign up for public assistance that require because there are very few jobs I could hold where your hands don't work. I am cut off from the entire electronic world, much of the employment world, and the rest of my life is a waste.

That's a lot of choice taken away from me. But if I use proprietary software as a bridge to win free software can support my needs it opens up much of the world opens up again.
Billions of people today are too poor to do these things.  Poverty is
deprivation, but it isn't slavery.  Your concept of "economic freedom"
is a misguided concept that attempts to disguise poverty as slavery.
That is a mistake.

Yes it would be and I said what I was trying to describe is lack of money means lack of choice.
If we define all kinds of deprivation as deprivation of freedom, what
follows?  We believe that all people other than criminals deserve freedom.
We believe they all deserve the same freedom.  So does that mean must
all have the same wealth?  If I am denied some of the freedom Bill Gates
has because I have less money than he, does that mean I deserve to have
the same income he has?  Or the same wealth?

No. It doesn't mean he must have the same wealth, it means they should have the same opportunity within reasonable bounds. We all know in equities in education and environment abound and the number of people who become wildly wealthy tend to come from well-to-do beginnings but it's not impossible (myth of Horatio Alger).

All I want is the fastest possible solution to achieving parity for cripples versus tabs. That's all. The fastest possible solution.

I believe I said elsewhere that yes I do think free software and accessibility tools being completely available is incredibly important. But it's also currently important for speed of solution. We've been waiting at least two decades or more for good computer accessibility tools. So far, every attempt I've seen from Microsoft to gnome to whoever has failed miserably especially in the domain of speech recognition.
Either we become levelers, advocating the same wealth or same income
for everyone, or we have to abandon the principle that all deserve the
same freedoms.  For me, that's a reductio ad absurdam: circumstancial
limitations on a person's options do not constitute loss of freedom.

In other words, freedom is not a matter of how many options you have.
That is the wrong way to define freedom.

     How about liberating people from economic misfortune, social isolation,
     disconnection from governmental services because of their disability?

These are deprivation, but not deprivation of freedom, so it is a
mistake to use the term "liberating" here.  Is giving food to a
hungry person "liberating" her?  Clearly not, although it is good for
other reasons.

Our primary goal is not "providing solutions", it is to eliminate the
injustice of proprietary software.

That's what we are doing.  You're welcome to help if you wish.

Justice must be tempered by compassion otherwise is an autocratic master that becomes as onerous as any human dictator. Maybe a better term than Justice s fairness or compassion. a fair or compassionate approach would be to restore some ability to disabled users so they can overcome the barriers erected against them through no fault of their own.

I'm not trying to be a jerk asking this question but it is fundamental in this situation. can the free software foundation philosophy accommodate fairness or compassion?

a compassionate solution delivers something that works as soon as possible so that disabled people can start working and participating. It doesn't mean building NaturallySpeaking into the core. But it's just a component you use until you can replace it. I've already described how to replace it elsewhere.

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