[Accessibility] Minutes for September 1 Accessibility meeting

Bill Haneman Bill.Haneman at Sun.COM
Wed Sep 29 10:55:28 PDT 2004

> Gunnar gave a summary of the Unix Accessibility Forum at KDE Forum.
> Friday was the membership meeting of KDE
> On Saturday, Developer Forum began.  Janina arrived Saturday.  Two of the
> KDE accessibility developers arrived on Saturday evening.   Sunday afternoon
> was the first part of the Unix access forum.  3 talks: Aaron Levanthal,
> Peter Korn,  Harald Fernengel.-
> Aaron  - Accessibility on Unix will be 3 years behind Windows.  ViaVoice
> will be available in the near future.

***insert here***

[Ed: George Kraft suggested that Aaron was describing the current
situation, not making a forecast].

> Peter Korn- showed features of GOK and demonstrated that these features are
> ahead of what Windows has.
> Harald: showed preview of Qt4 with Gnopernicus.  Showed 
prototype AT-SPI
workalike which used DBUS as an alternate to the CORBA backend.

> On Monday, several talks  didnt think they were relevant for discussion.
> Access ended.
> On Tuesday, Gunnar and his brother joined the usability forum.  There were
> discussions about writing guidelines for KDE developers.  Decided 3 tightly
> coupled documents were needed.
> 1- Community integration guidelines- which fonts should be used when doing
> screen shots when representing
> 2  Usability guide  points the developer should look for when developing
> applications and the reasoning behind them.
> 3  Accessibility guideline  points for developers and the reasoning behind
> them.
> 4  Checklist  point to references in other 3 documents.
> KDE work summit went on until the weekend.

There was a discussion in our meeting regarding DBUS and CORBA, touching
on issues of CORBA acceptance and prospects for a DBUS at-spi backend.  
There were concerns about dependencies of CORBA with respect to a free
desktop standard, or that CORBA might be "too heaviweight".  

> Bill- In order to achieve all of the goals and requirements of at-spi, 
one might end up with a CORBA-equivalant, without the advantages of
CORBA's standardization and existing availability.  Doubts that current
DBUS can meet all our needs.

> Bill expressed concern that these discussions were happenning outside the
> FSG Accessibility WorkGroup - since they are key to our standardization
effort.  The plan of record is to make the IDL normative, to standardize
on the CORBA ABI, but allow for alternative validatiable workalike ABIs
in the future, which could accommodate a future DBUS AT-SPI

There was mention of markup in text; Bill noted that ATK and AT-SPI
supported markup of text in the AccessibleText/AtkText API, notably that
CSS attributes were used where appropriate.

> Bill- I hope that Aaron is incorrect,  Im concerned about the DBUS
> discussion.  The reason for having this working group is to have consensus
> on cross toolkit solutions.  There was a Open Desktop accessibility working
> group and they decided to adopt Gnome methods.  It is a difficult for us
> working on different companies,  we have to look at the big picture.  Im
> glad to see the interest in accessibility guidelines in KDE, but why arent
> these Open Desktop documents that could be used by all the desktops?   Is
> there a reason that we cant adopt the Gnome guidelines?  We have to work on
> technical consensus
> Janina- we need to have a discussion about how we do that.  It seems that
> Accessibility isnt active in Open Desktop.  Things look good for the
> meeting in January where we can work on this.

> Earl- what was the problem
> Bill- Gunnar gave an informative report about the KDE forum.  It sounded
> like the KDE forum is proposing to 
duplicate considerable effort vis-a-vis the GNOME accessibility

> Peter-  They were not trying to set up something exclusionary, thats why
> they were called it the Unix Accessibility Forum.
> Bill- It doesnt seem the KDE development is happening in a free desktop
> space.
> Peter- how do
> ?- we need something that defines our existing guidelines.   Were trying to
> move the existing product and merge the Gnome standards to come to a common
> standard.
> Janina- I thought the emphasis was on how to be interoperate and not be
> competitive.  How to do that will take some time.  This seems to be a
> developers process within the KDE community to get specific guidance on
> accessibility.  That could help us to move to a more unified effort under
> free desktop.  I hope were not missing things in translations
> Bill- once that task is done for KDE,  there is less motivation to take it
> to the next step of creating a shared document.  If we try to create that it
> might lead to some consensus.

> Bill- free desktop documents take effort to define, Im not saying KDE ,
> the guidelines have to be written.
> Janina- we have much of this effort in our roadmap.  We need to have a
> discussion for next week to see how we can get that.  Develop more specific
> proposals on how to move forward names of who does what free desktop is a
> Bill- its a very informal organization.  Its a resource issue.

There seemed to be consensus that working within freedesktop.org was a
good idea, but resources need to be found to do such work.  Bill was
suggesting that the KDE work and as much GNOME work as feasible should
be moved to such a shared space, and that most new ground be broken in
the shared space.

> Peter- my impression was that Qt4 was very much ATK based.  Hed done some
> investigation with DBUS.
> ? -. . Would lower overhead for the AT applications, there are fewer
> dependencies.
> Bill- that may be okay in the long term but 
> Peter  job 1 is to get this first release out and serving people.  I agree
> we should be focusing on that.  (something about DBUS)
> Bill- it would take a new generation of DBUS to meet our needs.
> Peter- it will take the sorts of investigations Harald is doing to find out.
>  -question about Aaron Leventhals statement about being 3 years behind
> Microsoft.
> George- I though Aaron made a broad generalization.  I think Peter made a
> good point about being ahead on GOK.
> Bill  is he asserting that were 3 years behind Microsoft or that it will
> take 3 years to get Linux accessible?
> George  I think he was saying it will be 3 years to get all the features.
> Peter-  Aaron has spent all his time on the blind issues.  I think that the
> GUI desktop issues for Gnopernicus have more problems and may be 3 years
> behind.
> Janina- I think its devaluing the console environment.  Coming from a
> Windows standpoint your it does look like .  We all are learning from each
> other what doesnt work.    I hope he spends more time working on Mozilla in
> our environment.   Microsoft has announced a tentative release for Longhorn
> in 2006, is it reasonable to set a goal to have accessibility in shipping
> Linux distributions by 2006?
> Peter-  when we get into discussion  - from the users standpoint its a
> distribution issue but that gets into the competitive area.  May muddy
> things
> Janina- We need to get our work done far enough ahead so that firms can get
> it into the distributions.  Does that sound like a possible date?
> Peter- seems like a useful goal
> Janina- Id like to update on the NSF proposal.    Whats the status on the
> paperwork?
> John- I checked with Jim Zemin at FSG this morning.  He has a new secretary,
> Janet Sun and he asked her to work on that last week.  He thought she had
> completed it but needed to check with her to make sure; she was out of the
> office this morning.  Ill check with him late today.  Ephraim Glinert at
> NSF said we need to get it in quickly so that they can fund the project with
> money from this fiscal year (Sept. 30).
> Janina  In organizing  for the conference, we need to go through the NSF
> proposal and make a list of action items.  Then we can discuss this next
> week.   We had some good meetings at the KDE forum but everyone wasnt
> there,  e.g. the speech folks.    We need to let people know that our
> conference will be occurring so they can get it on their calendars.
> Matthew- some people will not come because its in the US
> Bill- the funding agency will only fund travel to the US, we need to look at
> videoconferencing so those people can still participate.
> Janina- we did budget for that and we have facilities that should be able to
> handle it.  Wed be happy to have the meeting somewhere else but were
> limited by the funding.  Well definitely need to have additional meetings
> so we should plan on that being funded by a source that is less restrictive.
> Kris- can tack onto one of the accessibility conferences in Europe next
> year?
> Peter   REHA?
> Janina- theres also LSM  next year in Dijon
> Ill go through the proposal and pull out the time line and we can discuss
> it next week.
> Sub teams?  Anything from the KBD group?
> Earl  no vacations intervened
> Janina- Daisy has recognized the need to define a standard to allow someone
> to open encrypted content.  It can be done now but you have to sign a NDA.
> Bill- we have the problem with MP3 also.  No way to implement a public
> domain Daisy reader.
> Janina- Should they leave mp3 in favor of auk?   We seem to be running into
> the same problem from several directions.  We have the same issues with the
> differences over the Java licenses.  Daisy is amenable to seeing if auk will
> work as well as mp3.
> Bill- if you look at some of the specialize codecs for voice, it should
> appeal to them.  The space saving alone.
> Bill- it would be possible to do a open source daisy reader if your system
> has some other mp3 reader but     The mp3 problem is a big practical
> problem.
> Janina- yes its appreciated within the Daisy consortium. Some of the US
> interested in trying to keep thing locked up but most are interested in open
> source.
> Bill- the reader examples that are on the web are all exes that are
> self-extracting zip.
> Peter- they are Windows binaries.
> Janina- the move to develop new products looks like they will create
> dependencies on Microsofts XML.   The spec is public domain like the w3c
> and based on w3c technologies.  Version 1 was closed and got burned.
> Version 2 is open but they had the tools developed by a propriety firm so
> they are now very interested in open source for everything.
> Matthew  copyright says it is public domain but then list a number of
> restrictions.
> Bill- there are jurisdictions where public domain where those restrictions
> would apply.
> Janina- they are trying to get funding to get that started by January.
> Our next meeting is . September 8th, 18:00 UTC
> John Goldthwaite
> Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access, Georgia Tech
> john.goldthwaite at catea.org
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> Accessibility at mail.freestandards.org
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