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LYNX-DEV helping users get lynx upgraded (was Re: diffs, ISPs, et al.)

From: gregory j. rosmaita
Subject: LYNX-DEV helping users get lynx upgraded (was Re: diffs, ISPs, et al.)
Date: Sun, 9 Mar 1997 14:36:30 -0500 (EST)

aloha, subir!

recently, subir wrote to address@hidden to alert them to the
existence of the page...

this is an important step forward, but it also underscores an important
point--if we are to expect ISPs to respond to individual users'
requests for an upgrade, we need to make it astoundingly clear that:

1) there is no other browser out there that is as conscientiously,
frequently, and responsibly updated, patched, and improved as is lynx...

2) due to the increasingly graphical nature of the web, i.e. the
increasingly ubiquitous use of tables, frames, etc., upgrading lynx is a
necessity, not a luxury...

3) that equal access is the law; that, if an ISP offers shell accounts,
then its failure to provide users with a text-based alternative that allows
them access to the web on a par with graphical browsers is a blatant and
untenable violation of the A.D.A.

this is a point that cannot be undersold or overstated--recently, i was
able to convince (the web-hosting division of to
upgrade to 2.7 using this argument after being told by tech support that
upgrading shell utilities and applications was not a priority...  the
larger the ISP, the more likely they are to respond to this argument, as
one hour of legal department time is equal to at least ten hours of sys
admin time...

and remember, this isn't just an "argument" or "justification" it _IS_ the
law...  you can't build or operate a place of business without entrances,
bathrooms, and other publicly accessible spaces that aren't fully 
handicapped-accessible without being in violation of the law, can you?
why, then, should ISPs be allowed to flagrantly violate the A.D.A by
neglecting their shell utilities?

4) in their correspondence with me, a great many blind users have quoted
their ISPs using the following argument as an excuse not to upgrade:

        well, according to what you've sent me, lynx 2.7 has already had
        a couple of bugfixes, so i'm not sure i want to upgrade to
        something so unstable when we've had no problems with 2.4.2

which highlights the importance of public-relations campaign on the part
of the amorphous Lynx-Developmental Consortium (LDC)...

therefore, what is needed is:

1) a clear, concise message stating the LDC's commitment to keeping Lynx
as current as possible...  that updates, patches, and bugfixes do not
reflect inherent weaknesses and flaws in Lynx itself, but, rather, are a
reflection of its strength...  these documents (in hypertext, as well as
plain text) should be housed at and mirrored at subir's
pages and wherever else the lynx distribution (and binaries) are mirrored
or housed...

2) a clear, concise message, listing the improvements from version X.X to
2.7 that individual users can send to their sys admins...  yes, there
are the CHANGES and CHANGESX-X files, but unless you are a programmer,
hacker, or developer they are of little use in explaining the differences
between versions...

only then will individual _users_ be armed with the ammunition they need
to persuade their ISP to upgrade the universally accessible version of 
lynx hosted on their servers...

joe kincaid's 2.6 to 2.7 is an enourmous step in the right direction, but
this, too, needs to be expanded to encompass the changes from 2.2 to 2.7,
from 2.3 to 2.7, from 2.3.7 to 2.7, from 2.4.2 to 2.7, from 2.5 to 2.7,


subir wrote:
> In any case, I'm setting up a
> list of ISPs and the degree to which they support Lynx.  CRL and Netcom
> are listed in the "For shame section". You can mail me information on
> what version of Lynx your ISP runs,

1. add ( to the list of the huggables...  in fact,
drop them a sloppy kiss, as they not only upgraded to 2.7 when i sent them
the release notice on 15 feb, but have conscientiously applied the bugfixes 
each time one is released and i send them a notice with the zipfile

2. add ( to the huggables, although i'd
embrace them even tighter if they upgraded from the early january build of
2-6FM to 2.7 (the next to last one before it was frozen and renamed 2.7),
but at least they finally changed the universally accessible lynx binary from 
2.4.2 to 2.6 last week (after 2 and a half months of almost daily campaigning)

3. add ( to the huggables, although i'd embrace 
them, too, even tighter if they upgraded from the september 96 release of
2-6 to 2.7  (and yes, i've been bugging them to upgrade to 2.7 since
february 15, too)

4. add ( -- this is the server maintained
by the california chapter of the national federation of the blind) to the
list of shame, as they offer only 2.4.2

       BLYNX: Support and Documentation for Blind/VI Lynx Users
h t t p colon slash slash l e b dot n e t slash b l i n u x slash b l y n x

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