[Accessibility] Text as discussed at the phone conference

Olaf Jan Schmidt ojschmidt at kde.org
Wed Aug 17 12:39:49 PDT 2005


This is the latest draft with all changes discussed at the phone conference.

If we want to shorten it a bit further, then we can consider removing the last 
sentence of the second paragraph.

In the question of the AT-SPI bridge I changed it to simply say "the AT-SPI 
bridge of Qt4", which has a wide enough meaning to be correct in any case.

I also realized that I made the exact same mistake as Janina and send the old 
version without the change of "Gnome technologies" to "technologies that 
originated within Gnome" to this list earlier. I know that this was kind of 


Draft Draft Draft Draft
As of August 17 19:30 UTC

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 (FSG Accessibility). 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 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. We believe it is imperative to 
preserve choice and to maximize available options for users. Therefore we are 
developing an accessibility standard based on functional performance criteria 
implemented in messaging protocols fully independent of any particular 
toolkit or desktop technology. 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 FSG Accessibility, 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, using the AT-SPI bridge of Qt4. The KDE Accessibility 
Project also plans to port its own assistive technologies to AT-SPI so that 
Gnome users can benefit from them. The Gnome team is excited about this 
commitment and the willingness of the KDE developers to integrate 
technologies that originated within Gnome in those 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 FSG Accessibility 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 efforts.

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