[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: lynx-dev Licensing Lynx: Summary

From: Brett Glass
Subject: Re: lynx-dev Licensing Lynx: Summary
Date: Tue, 05 Oct 1999 20:10:29 -0600

At 04:58 PM 10/5/99 -0400, Gene Collins wrote:

>Well, lots of sighted folks struggle with accesssing the net as well. 
>Blind folks just have to be a bit more picky about what screen reader
>and other software they put together for their systems.  The point is
>that if the screen reading software and operating system are well enough
>integrated, then it won't matter what browser, word processor,
>spreadsheet the blind person is running, they'll have access to it.

Unfortunately, the blind people with whom I work find that the operating
system itself is a huge obstacle -- the PARADIGMS are wrong. And it's
tough to patch that; it's building on the wrong foundation.

>There used to be a few specially written programs for blind folks using
>the Apple II.e.  When the IBM pc came along and general system wide
>speech access became available, the special programs for blind folks
>dried up.  Why?  Because we were suddenly able to use standard off the
>shelf software that everyone else was using, which opened up employment
>opertunities, and made getting tech support a whole lot easier.  What
>I'm saying is that the point of accessibility should be at the system
>level, not at the application level.

Ideally, yes. Or at the user interface level. But in the case of
Windows, you pretty much have to throw away the system to avoid
frustration. It's just too rigidly oriented toward visual stuff. It
even gives sighted people fits -- forget about low-vision or blind
folks. ("You mean that the only sign that I'm online is that teeny
tiny icon in the task bar, which only pops up when I move my mouse
pointer just so?")

>Your attempt to license the Lynx software is honorable, and please
>except my appology if I seemed to imply that it wasn't.  It's your
>concept of what you think blind people need that I have an argument
>with, not your intentions to be helpful.

The concepts we're employing are based not on idle speculation but
rather on descriptions, by blind people, of what they need and want!
I also have some use for an auditory interface, as I sometimes spend
long periods driving and would like to use my computer while doing so.

>As for your assertions about the quality of gnu software, I'll just say
>that I've found it to be every bit as good and even better than some
>commercial software on the market from a very large developer.  That's
>one of the reasons you were interested in licensing Lynx in the first
>place, it's quality, right?

Actually, no; there are no commercial products to compare it to, really,
nor other freely redistributable ones worth mentioning. It's the only thing 
in its category that could possibly provide a foundation for what we're
doing. Anything we can't get legally from Lynx we will have to write afresh
or have "clean roomed" for us.

>   And as for some other company copying Lynx
>and using it without regard to the gnu license, that would be just as
>much an act of piracy as an individual unlawfully acquiring commercial

True. But the GPL should not make it so. It should encourage copying
and sharing not only by end users but by developers. This would be
of mutual benefit to all. If Berkeley UNIX had been released under 
the GPL, there would have been no Internet.

>My appologies to folks on the list if this discussion has strayed a bit
>from the topic of Lynx support and development, but there are some
>points here that I felt needed to be responded to.  If you read my
>friend Sandi Ryans post, I think you'll conclude that there are others
>who are much more emotional about the issue than I am.

Indeed. The blind world is intensely political -- more than most sighted
people ever realize. And Sandi appears to be what many of my friends 
would call a "hard line Federationist." That is to say, she appears to 
shun specially designed devices and accommodations, even those that might 
really help, on the theory that it is bad to depend upon them. But in the 
computer world, all one can do is trade one accommodation for another, 
really. And none of them seem to be very good. I've tried using
software such as Jaws and VocalEyes with the monitor turned off, and
Jeeze, it's tough to do even basic stuff. And I'm a pretty spatial and
tactile person.


reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]