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Re: [Accessibility] Call to Arms

From: Bill Cox
Subject: Re: [Accessibility] Call to Arms
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2010 17:57:29 -0700

On Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 5:27 PM, Eric S. Johansson <address@hidden> wrote:
>  On 7/27/2010 12:57 PM, Richard Stallman wrote:
>> For several years I had bad hand pain and mostly could not type.
>> I did not even consider using a nonfree dictation program, because
>> nonfree software would take away my freedom and I was not prepared
>> to dedicate my efforts to replacing it.
> You are far better man than I am. All I can see is that you gave up the
> independence of using the computer yourself.  you gave a bit of privacy when
> you allow someone else to see what you want entered. you gave up a bit a
> security when you allow someone to know your passwords. At that time in your
> life, you were dependent on other people to type for you in the same way
> that I am dependent on others to write for me.

The whole software freedom first vs accessibility solutions first is a
long dead, but ever-debated topic.  The people who count here are
those with the disabilities, and in any straw-poll, I'm sure you'll
find software developers with disabilities overwhelmingly decide to
use commercial software to improve their productivity.  They win,
because that's who this software is for.  I'd say "end of debate", but
of course that will never happen.

However, let's not belittle RMS's contribution to the well being of
the world.  Where would voice coders be without emacs, Vocola, and
Dragonfly?  I would have lost my job when I couldn't type if it
weren't for the power of emacs, even if I did drive it with Naturally

So, on any voice-coding project I get to influence, I'll encourage
having flexible API's, so that you could use Naturally Speaking or any
other recognition engine.  However, the richness of that API will be
far greater if we can edit functionality on both sides.  If we only
use Naturally Speaking, we'll never get to the point where coding by
voice is as productive as coding by typing.  I think we agree that
such software is possible, and we probably agree that Nuance couldn't
care less.


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