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Re: [Accessibility] Call to Arms

From: Willem van der Walt
Subject: Re: [Accessibility] Call to Arms
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2010 10:54:40 +0200 (SAST)

Hi Bill,
I think that those of us who are serious about a11y on none-proprietary 
platforms and also understand the four freedoms as stated by the FSF will 
end up working together anyway.
The four essential freedoms:
     * The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
     * The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do
       what you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition
       for this.
     * The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor
       (freedom 2).
     * The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and
       modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community
       benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for

I am sure that the people writing NVDA does understand these freedoms.  
For those not in the know, NVDA is an open-source screen reader for 

Practicality does come in at some point.
The two most usable OCR engines that is free of cost, open-source and run 
under Linux/UNIX is not released under the GNU GPL license, but I will use 
that rather than buying a proprietary package to do the same job better.
The front-end that I wrote for scanning and OCR does however also support 
ocrad, a package released under GNU GPL  license.
If OCRAD ever gets to the point where it is as usable as cuneiform or 
tesseract, I will be more happy to use ocrad, but for now it is not quite 
If I scanned/OCRed a lot, I might have tried sending problem images to the 
ocrad people.

On another list this morning, I saw a message from someone who looked for 
another Spanish voice to use under Vinux because as he stated, "espeak 
Spanish just does not cut it for me." What I feel this person should do, 
is to get him a voice that "cuts it " for him, but then also contribute to 
improving Espeak Spanish.
One problem in the disability field is that people are so used to the fact 
that they have to wait for some company to fix/improve some product, that 
they struggle to realize that they, even as users, can do a lot to improve 
things if they use open-source.

As maintainer of the Afrikaans language for Espeak, I have asked users of 
that software many times to send me words that are pronounced incorrectly, 
but only a few actually does that.
It is as if it is too good to be true to believe that you can do that and 
can get your own little miss-pronunciation fixed.

It is worth mentioning that the biggest contributer of rules/fixes for the 
Espeak Afrikaans, is a Windows user.
Although I do not ever see him use another platform, he changed from a 
person complaining that no one did anything proper to produce an 
Afrikaans voice synthesizer into someone who realized that he could do 
something about it.
Without his contribution, the Afrikaans would never have been as good as 
it is today.

I hope i make some sense.
Kind regards, Willem

 On Tue, 27 Jul 2010, 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.
> 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?
> Bill
> _______________________________________________
> Accessibility mailing list
> address@hidden
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