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Re: [Accessibility] Call to Arms

From: Eric S. Johansson
Subject: Re: [Accessibility] Call to Arms
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2010 00:36:35 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20100713 Thunderbird/3.1.1

 On 7/27/2010 11:43 PM, Bill Cox wrote:
On Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 6:24 PM, Eric S. Johansson<address@hidden>  wrote:
  On 7/27/2010 8:57 PM, Bill Cox wrote:
I thought the discussion was worth having
because this is a free software foundation sponsored list and if they say,
thou shalt do only free software, then that is their right and we should
respect that.
This gets to the heart of my greatest misgiving in having FSF leading
FOSS accessibility development.  I think that FOSS is pretty much the
only way to get programmers with disabilities from around the world to
volunteer to work together to write this stuff, so I see significant
synergy between FSF goals and the goals of the volunteers.

I think the best way to do it is with a Chinese wall type partition. We have this list for the majority of the work, supporting only free software and then we have a separate list for dealing with a transitional stuff. We also have separate repositories etc. It will be kind of interesting because the only way we can do testing in the beginning is with nonfree software.

However, will the volunteers see it that way?  Will programmers who
use Windows and Naturally Speaking, or Windows and JAWs hesitate to
join a FSF community?  FSF has broad reach, resources for servers, web
development, and a well recognised brand, in addition to Chris working
full time.  So, it seems like a great foundation to organise things
from.  Will the community converge here?  Would we be better off
building an on-line community of volunteers dedicated to
accessibility, and only accessibility?  Can that be done through FSF?

Who the heck knows. The ideals put forth by the free software foundation are worth living by. The compassion conflict bothers me. Most people I know who are doing open source work with speech recognition tools are pragmatic and accept the fact that NaturallySpeaking or Windows speech recognition are the only recognizers worth using. They are treating it as a "solved problem" because it really f-n hard to replace. this is one reason why I suggest both virtual machine and wine solutions as encapsulation.

one source of volunteers we will not see are former Dragon or nuance employees. The employee contract has a significant punitive aspect to any employee working in the same field. I believe the noncompete timeframe something like five years. And we have the problem of "inevitable disclosure" which is another trick former employers use to retaliate against employees going to a competitor. They have successfully argued that just by knowing copy secrets, a former employee will disclose by virtue of simply being there and working on the same problems. No sir, we don't need those problems.

Developing the recognizer et al. may need one or more graduate departments with boards of grad students. If memory serves, expect to spend something like $50 million developer bux.

But I'm not going to depress myself any further with these thoughts. When I have the next few spare moments, I'm going to do some more brain dumps on adapting applications to speech recognition, mismatches between GUI and speech user interfaces, programming by voice, incremental steps

--- eric


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