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Re: [Accessibility] Call to Arms

From: Jason White
Subject: Re: [Accessibility] Call to Arms
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2010 18:04:18 +1000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-06-14)

Bryen M. Yunashko <address@hidden> wrote:
> That's an important philosophy for many of us and that accessibility
> does take precedence over other FOSS-related philosophies.  It's just
> the way it is and I feel that the tone you are expressing here is that
> we are less-than-admirable for adhering to that philosophy than RMS is
> for adhering to his philosophy.  I surely hope I'm reading that wrong.

You are. What I am suggesting is that the commendable leadership role that the
FSF is taking in this area, and the establishment of this mailing list, create
an opportunity to work on free accessibility-related software and the
accessibility of free software. The FSF principles place boundaries on what
can be done in this context - in particular, they rule out anything that
requires proprietary software in order to be used. I am in no doubt that there
are people who will pursue such efforts independently, whether one likes it or
not (and I don't think we need to enter into that discussion too deeply in the
current context.)

So, what I suggest is, first, to consider working in a way that respects both
accessibility and software freedom, or if this isn't possible, at least to
respect the FSF principles by not carrying out any non-free-software-related
work in an FSF forum, where it wouldn't be permitted or endorsed anyway - and
nothing in this thread is likely to prompt the FSF to compromise its
fundamental values and goals in any way.
> Now I'm sorry but this statement frightens me.  "any forum or project
> sponsored, endorsed or promoted by the FSF."   Let's take the GNOME-A11y
> team for example.  RMS has certainly participated in GNOME discussions,
> the FSF has published GNOME Accessibility API as a recommendation [1].
> By your statement, if there's anyone on our team that uses non-free
> solutions to do their work, we should ask them to leave the GNOME-A11y
> team.  

No, I don't think that's an implication at all which can validly be drawn from
the above statement. The suggestion was merely that if it involves non-free
software, or depends upon the same, or combines free and non-free, then it
doesn't belong in any FSF-endorsed project. I didn't assert anything about
people, i.e., it's possible for the same people to be doing both types of
development (however wrong that may be depending on your point of view.)

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