[Accessibility] Draft Press Release RE January F2F

Janina Sajka janina at rednote.net
Tue Oct 12 18:58:21 PDT 2004

The Free Standards Group (FSG) today announced an international meeting
of experts to further ongoing research, engineering, and standardization
efforts in support of comprehensive access to information and accessible
user interfaces for persons with disabilities on open source computing
platforms. Funded with a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation
(NSF), the meeting will be hosted by the Archimedes Project at the
University of Hawaii during the week of January 24, 2005. Live video
streams via the Internet are planned.
The meeting iis intended to Reach broad stakeholder consensus on a
common layer of accessibility support that can be deployed and
maintained on multiple platforms and can serve as the basis for future
collaborative research to provide multiple, cost effective,
interoperable, heterogeneous and accessible products. Achieving
standards to support comprehensive accessibility in the free and open
source environment requires participation among developer communities,
marketers of free and open source technologies, academic and corporate
researchers, and user communities. The objectives of the Hawaiian
meeting include:

o To achieve consensus on those standards which can be adopted to
support accessibility in the near term. The FSG's Accessibility
Workgroup is currently preparing specific proposals;

o Agree on engineering research which must yet be performed in order to
support all persons with disabilities;

o Identify areas where further targeted research is required before
engineering solutions can be put forward;

The diverse, ad-hoc nature of development on open source platforms has
today created an environment where excellent accessibility for some
users exists in certain contexts, while other contexts and other users'
needs remain unaddressed and inaccessible. It has also resulted in very
diverse technologies that themselves make it difficult to achieve
comprehensive and cohesive accessibility support. Working to bridge this
gap, the FSG's Accessibility Workgroup includes experts on accessibility
issues -- representatives of major organizations such as the Archimedes
Project at the University of Hawaii, the Trace Center at the University
of Wisconsin, the Georgia Institute of Technology Center for Assistive
Technology and Environmental Access, the Fraunhofer Institute, and the
Computer Braille Facility of the University of Western Ontario. In
addition, the Accessibility Workgroup includes developers of graphical
user interface (GUI) desktop environments such as GNOME and KDE, and
Linux developers from Red Hat, Debian, SuSE, IBM, Sun, HP and TrollTech.
Further information on the Accessibility Workgroup of the Free Standards
Group is available at http://a11y.org.

About the Free Standards Group

The Free Standards Group is an independent nonprofit organization
dedicated to accelerating the use and acceptance of free and open source
software by developing and promoting standards. Key Free Standards Group
projects include the Linux Standard Base (LSB), OpenI18N, LANANA and the
new Accessibility Workgroup. Supported by leaders in the IT industry as
well as the open source development community, the Free Standards Group
fulfills a critical need to have common behavioral specifications, tools
and ABIs across Linux platforms.  More information on the Free Standards
Group is available at http://www.freestandards.org.


				Janina Sajka, Chair
				Accessibility Workgroup
				Free Standards Group (FSG)

janina at freestandards.org	Phone: +1 202.494.7040

				Janina Sajka, Chair
				Accessibility Workgroup
				Free Standards Group (FSG)

janina at freestandards.org	Phone: +1 202.494.7040

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