Friday, December 21, 2007

Red Hat and GNOME Accessibility?

Oddly, it is a message from Matthew Szulik as he leaves the role of CEO and President of Red Hat that renews my hope that Red Hat takes accessibility seriously. Why?

In reading that it is important at Red Hat to "seek out those who believe that for any democracy to continue, free and unfettered access to information is an unassailable condition for advancement", I'm struck by the term "unfettered", where I take the term to mean accessible and without barriers.

Please tell me that's what he mean't. Please tell me the new CEO and President, Jim Whitehurst will make that a company directive. I think with that directive in hand, Jonathan Blandford and the desktop team could really make a brilliant impact in GNOME accessibility. With the community looking at an accessibility infrastructure refactor, the timing is right.

Sun Microsystems, having laid the GNOME accessibility foundation, are still chugging away with the classy ORCA screen reader, and helping support GOK maintenance; as well as strategic thinking.

IBM, no longer directly involved in Linux accessibility are still involved peripherally, and are tackling accessibility on many fronts.

Ubuntu has seemed to "get it" from day one. Bravo!

The Mozilla Foundation continues to provide vital seed funding for GNOME accessibility work, bringing in great talent to work on gaps.

Novell seems to understand the importance of this and are putting resources behind it.

I'm sure I'm missing some obvious ones; please leave a comment and let me know.

Exciting times! Thanks for reading.

[Edited to fix name of company! Thanks David Z.]

Monday, December 17, 2007

Invigorating GNOME Accessibility

Teaser: something really cool is coming next year.

A few days ago Behdad gathered some of us GNOME accessibility folks together on IRC to brainstorm which he then summarized and reported back to the board.

Today Brian Cameron posted to the GNOME accessibility list with the subject: "Forming an Accessibility Steering Committee". If you are passionate about accessibility and feel you have the experience and time why don't throw your name in the hat? I imagine one of the things that the committee will help steer is (I'm whispering now...) the cool thing coming next year, but that is only a piece of puzzle.

I don't know what has gotten into Behdad lately but he is definitely helping bring people together around accessibility.

Great job!