[Accessibility] Meeting minutes Accessibility Working Group March 10, 2004

John Goldthwaite john.goldthwaite at catea.org
Wed Mar 10 12:39:14 PST 2004

Accessibility Working Group March 10, 2004

Doug Beattie
John Goldthwaite
Bill Haneman
Randy Horwitz
Peter Korn
Janina Sajka
Chris Van Hees
Matthew Wilcox

Chris Van Hees joined the group.  His expertise is in design and development
of software.  He’s interested in accessibility because his wife and son are
blind, but accessiblity just needs to be there as part of good design.  Has
started PhD with university in Belgium on accessibility of operating
systems, specifically Linux.  (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven with Dr. Jan
Janina- we should introduce you to the group in Denmark that is working on
an accessible desktop based on open software.  I’ll be traveling at this
next time next week so I’m proposing we not meet until the following week.
CSUN is our main item to discuss today.  We have a Friday presentation,
9:20-10:20 at CSUN, Newport C at the Hilton. It’s listed as a Janina
presentation, but I want to do it as a panel.  Janina, Randy, Peter and Earl
will be present at the meeting.
Peter- I’m about to send out my pre-CSUN announcement and I will include
this.  We might consider a demo or two.  We’d only be demoing pieces.  It
would be a good time to show KDE if someone can get their new code running.
People need to see that this is about console access, 

Bill- If we demo KDE we’ll only be abled to show AT-poke.
Peter- I exchanged email with an engineer who said it might be ready.  I’m
just talking about reading with gnopernicus.
Janina- I think that’s good.  If SUN would show other vendors’ products,
that says a lot about the open source movement.
What would we like people to take away from the meeting?  Just come away
jazzed or recruiting?
Peter- probably recruiting boosters, there aren’t likely to be technical
folks in the audience.  We want them to see that there is momentum with open
source.  And that there is an alternative to Windows.  Also that it’s a
standards, an international standard that’s free.
Janina- I’m sure we’re going to get boosters out of it.
Peter- I want people to go to AT companies and ask them when they will be
working on Linux products
 goto Apple and ask them why don’t they use it.
Also go to companies like Adobe, and tell them you need to develop
accessible programs on all platforms.  Talk about general Linux
penetration – wins in Munich, China, other countries.  People are moving to
this platform and there are now full featured applications – OpenOffice,
  Talk about the KDE apps as well.  Let them know what are we,
what is it important,  demo, call to action.
Janina- there are less technical activities that are needed- good user
documentation, instructional books.  We need people to write grant
applications.  Also there are 

Peter- technology transfer.  One thing that’s been disappointing is the
transfer of university research to the marketplace. With open source, the
university researchers should use the open source standard to do things you
can’t do on Windows or Apple, e.g. Dasher.
Janina- also the packaging of products- putting them together so they are
easy to install for easy for users to get started, e.g. Speakup modified
Fidora install.
Peter- opportunity for people supporting JAWS, to create a custom talking
Linux distribution, custom large print Linux, provide support services
Janina- and remotely administered versions
Peter- going back to grant writers- there should be SBIR grants..  Shouldn’t
they give a preference to open source.
Janina- any other ideas?
Peter- doesn’t sound like this would be a panel.
Janina- I was thinking that I will take the minutes from this meeting and
make a slide show.  Can someone drive them while I’m doing the presentation?
Peter- I can do that. Best if its Office or HTML.  
.  I’ll put in HTML so
that it’s accessible for handout.  Are you using Open Office yet?
Janina- that’s one of the things we need to.  Its not working with
gnopernicus and I want to talk to Red Hat at CSUN about it.
John – do you know if NEC or Mitsubishi Foundation people will be there?
Sylvia Clark from NEC maybe there.
Janina- I know who I can ask about that.

Peter- come to the Tuesday night Freedom Machines screening.  It is an hour
and a half film created by people from the Bay Area for PBS.  It’s about
people with disabilities using technology. Should be on later this year.
Janina – there is another conference after CSUN - E-Government and Open
source – I’ll be there for two days. egov.os.org
I will be giving a talk about what we’re doing.  Message- provide a way to
cover the gap- help us make sure we have the funds to get the engineering

Peter- I don’t know enough about the conference but as a free software
foundation representation your message should be about how open source helps
..  In particular, a lot of the RFP’s are saying that the applications
have to work with JAWS, i.e. Windows only.
Bill- we can stress the standards process, we are soliciting support for the
standardization process such as testing, certification.
Peter- They use apache and instead of paying for an expensive proprietary
webserver that doesn’t do what exactly what you want, you hire a program on
working on making those changes in apache that goes toward a better product
for everyone.  Why not do this with screenreaders, instead of spending
$200,000 for JAWS, use gnopernicus and make improvements.
Janina- and coordinate with us

Peter- hire the program to make enhancements and it benefits other people

John- They may not want to join a community but they are interesting in
getting a product that meets their needs.  They probably don’t want to spend
departmental funds on improving a screenreader.
Peter- not as much emphais on community but explain to the agency that it’s
a better way to get the features you need.  They will understand the apache

 temptation to do deep dive presentation, might loose audience .. it’s
Bill- I like the analogy with apache, the agency people will understand.
Janina- this is my agenda for today, any other topics.
Doug- did we get the FSG text Brailled?
John- was Sharon able to get a copy of the text and make an HTML version?
Randy- didn’t right that action item down
John- fax the brochure to me at 404 894-9320 and I’ll Braille it.  I can
have some one drop it off.
Peter – Bring it to the Washington room for Earl Johnson on Wednesday
LAX Marriott hotel.

Peter – in addition to call to action.  Direct contacts and personal
meetings with Adobe will help.  They are moving in our direction but need
more incouragement.  The new viewer in Linux is much better.

Janina- when we come back in two weeks, there are a few things in the NSF
proposal that we need to address.  Just use their list as a check list and
just go throught it.  Let’s finalize it and get it to NSF the first week in
Peter- we’ll also want to debrief about CSUN and gov.os so add that to the

John Goldthwaite
Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access, Georgia Tech
john.goldthwaite at catea.org

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