[Accessibility] Re: Interoperability Statement -- Current Draft (resent)

Olaf Jan Schmidt ojschmidt at kde.org
Wed Aug 17 00:25:43 PDT 2005


The resent draft still did not include my change, so here is the latest 
version. My computer also advised me to change the spelling of one word to 

Draft Draft Draft Draft
As of August 17 morning

Statement On Desktop Accessibility Development
August 2005

We are members of the Gnome and KDE Accessibility Projects, and also of the
Free Standards Group's Accessibility Workgroup.  We have prepared this
statement in order to clarify the plans and intentions of our projects with
respect to interoperability and standardization. We believe this statement
accurately reflects the consensus viewpoint of the individual members of
our groups.

We wish to clarify our approach to the development of accessibility for the
GUI desktop environment. Most particularly we want to allay any concern
that our standardization efforts might be focused on any one particular
toolkit or desktop technology to the exclusion of other toolkits and
desktops. This is not so. On the contrary, we believe it is imperative to
preserve choice and to maximize available options for users.  To this end
we are consciously and intentionally developing an accessibility standard
based on functional performance criteria implemented in messaging protocols
fully independent of any particular toolkit or desktop technology.  We
recognize that the assistive technologies now in development for GNOME and
KDE serve  different user needs. We believe users who are persons with
disabilities should be empowered to choose technologies from any and all
environments which provide accessibility just as most other desktop users
today routinely use a mix of technologies from different desktop
environments. Our goal is seamless interoperability rather than
duplication--which would be unnecessary and wasteful at best.

While some of the accessibility interfaces being discussed as candidates
for standardization within the FSG Workgroup, primarily AT-SPI,
originated in Gnome, we as a group are committed to toolkit-neutral
accessibility interface standards.  A key goal of our ongoing
standardization effort, which is inclusive rather than exclusive, is the
long-term interoperability of accessibility solutions for the free
desktop environment. The current KDE4 roadmap, for example, calls for
interoperability with existing Gnome assistive technologies, and vice
versa, using the AT-SPI bridge that is part of Qt4.  The Gnome team is
excited about this commitment and the willingness of the KDE developers
to integrate Gnome technologies in cases where they offer immediate
tangible benefits to users.

At the same time, we are actively working together to develop and implement
a strategy which will eliminate dependencies on any particular desktop,
library, or toolkit, including KDE accessibility on Gnome libraries, or
vice versa. The current plan of action, which was agreed to at a
face-to-face meeting of the Free Standards Group Accessibility Workgroup
earlier this year, is to standardize on a set of interfaces (most likely
specified in IDL), and allow for multiple conformant implementations as
long as basic interoperability requirements are met.  This will allow for
increased technology sharing and help "future-proof" our standardization

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