[Accessibility] Last Call: FSG Accessibility Statement On Development

Janina Sajka janina at freestandards.org
Thu Aug 18 12:24:02 PDT 2005

There have been no additional comments since the following draft late
last evening. Consequently, in keeping with the procedure we agreed to
during our teleconference, this email is your 24-hour last call on this
statement. If there are no objections, additions, deletions, or other
corections from anyone by 19:00 UTC on Friday, August 19, we will
consider this statement agreed and I will ask George to post it on our
web site. 

Once posted, there will be a link for you to use to sign the statement.
Details will be posted to the list.

Draft Draft Draft Draft
As of August 18, 01:18 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  other desktop users 
today routinely use a mix of technologies from different desktop 
environments. Our goal is seamless interoperability.

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 during January 2005, 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.


Janina Sajka				Phone: +1.202.494.7040
Partner, Capital Accessibility LLC	http://www.CapitalAccessibility.Com
Bringing the Owasys 22C screenless cell phone to the U.S. and Canada. Go to http://www.ScreenlessPhone.Com to learn more.

Chair, Accessibility Workgroup		Free Standards Group (FSG)
janina at freestandards.org		http://a11y.org

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