[Accessibility] Solaris 10 released, with accessibility built-in! Also FreeTTS 1.2 released.

Peter Korn peter.korn at sun.com
Thu Feb 24 15:31:50 PST 2005


The Sun Accessibility team is utterly delighted to announce:

    - Solaris 10, with a rich set of accessibility features and included
      assistive technologies, is now shipping and available for immediate
      web download for both SPARC and x86/x64 architectures.  Solaris is
      the premier UNIX operating system from Sun Microsystems, favored by
      customers for mission critical environments.  Among the many new
      features in Solaris 10 release is the GNOME graphical desktop with
      accessibility support built-in.  Solaris 10 accessibility features
      include: complete mouseless access to the desktop; theming support
      with high contrast and large print themes; a collection of keyboard
      accessibility features including StickyKeys, MouseKeys, BounceKeys,
      SlowKeys, and ToggleKeys; a full-featured screen reader and
      screen magnifier with Braille access; a powerful dynamic on-screen
      keyboard with many features no other on-screen keyboard can provide.
      With Solaris 10, accessibility support can be configured for use even
      at the login screen, so users with disabilities can have their theme
      or assistive technology working before they log into the system!
      Solaris 10 also includes a rich collection of web and productivity
      applications such as Mozilla for web browsing, Evolution for e-mail
      and enterprise calendaring, and the StarOffice suite for word processing,
      spreadsheets, and presentation authoring - all of which fully support
      the GNOME accessibility architecture and included assistive technologies.

    - FreeTTS 1.2, the free, open source text-to-speech engine written in
      the Java programming language is now available.  FreeTTS partially
      supports the Java Speech API, and can be used and redistributed in
      Java and web-based applications.  FreeTTS ships with Solaris 10 and
      is used by the screen reader that comes with Solaris 10.


     The Solaris 10 Operating System
     -------------------------------
       Solaris is Sun's "enterprise-grade" UNIX operating system.  It runs
       on the SPARC line of 64-bit processors as well as x86 (and the
       new 64-bit editions of x86, known as "x64") processors.  Used both
       as a server operating system and for workstations, Solaris powers
       a large portion of the businesses on the Internet, and serves as
       the backbone of many companies' Information Technology systems.
       Solaris is an extremely scalable operating systems, capable of
       running systems with one microprocessor to systems with over
       100 microprocessors.

       Solaris 10 includes a host of new features, most of which aren't
       available in any other operating system.  The new features include:
       DTrace - a comprehensive dynamic tracing framework for troubleshooting
       systemic problems in real time; Solaris Containers which allows you
       to turn one computer into multiple virtual computers; ZFS - the
       zettabyte file system which is a next generation self-healing,
       self-managing 128-bit file system; and dramatically increased
       network performance.

       In addition to the powerful, base operating system features noted
       above, Solaris 10 includes a rich graphical desktop with a large
       collection of productivity applications.  Solaris 10 includes the
       Java Desktop System - a graphical desktop based on the open source
       GNOME environment - with a number of key additions from Sun.
       The Solaris 10 desktop includes StarOffice 7, a powerful productivity
       suite with a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation package
       that can read and write Microsoft file formats.  Also included with
       Solaris 10 is the Mozilla web browser, and the Evolution e-mail and
       enterprise calendaring application.

       With this release, Solaris is now also a very accessible operating
       system!  The Java Desktop System release 3 - the recommended graphical
       desktop that is part of Solaris 10 - provides a tremendous amount of
       support for users with disabilities.  Accessibility support in Solaris
       10 includes:

        - complete keyboard operability of all supported applications and
          functions on the desktop.  This of course includes the productivity
          applications in Solaris 10 like StarOffice and Mozilla and Evolution,
          and of course all of the Java applications.  This means that people
          with a range of mild physical impairments can operate Solaris 10.

        - the collection of keyboard enhancements pioneered by the TRACE
          Center - StickyKeys, MouseKeys, BounceKeys, etc. This functionality
          allows people with a variety of mild to medium physical impairments
          to operate Solaris 10 (e.g. hand tremors from Parkinson's disease).

        - a themable desktop with support for a range of desktop themes. These
          include for accessibility: High Contrast, High Contrast Inverse,
          and Large Print themes.  And of course the supported graphical
          applications in the Java Desktop System respect these themes
          (including Staroffice, Mozilla, Evolution, and all of the Java
          applications).  This allows people with a range of mild vision
          impairments to operate Solaris 10.

        - a full-featured, commercial quality screen reader and screen
          magnifier.  Unlike the very limited screen reader and screen
          magnifier shipping on other desktops, the one in Solaris 10
          works with all of the supported graphical applications in the
          Java Desktop System - you can use them to browse the web and
          edit documents and spreadsheets and presentations and read
          your e-mail and track your calendar.  Solaris 10 is also the
          first graphical desktop to interoperate with Braille displays,
          out of the box!  This allows people who are legally blind - or
          completely blind - or even deaf-blind! - to operate Solaris 10.

        - an industry leading on-screen keyboard which reaches inside running
          applications and dynamically builds "keyboards" to rapidly interact
          with every supported graphical applications in the Java Desktop
          System.  This functionality goes far beyond anything available
          on other graphical desktops - either bundled with or purchased
          commercially - and offers *dramatic* speed improvements to people
          with significant physical disabilities.   The on-screen keyboard in
          Solaris 10 monitors what you are doing with applications, and
          offers immediate access to things like the menu system, toolbars,
          hyperlinks, and the controls in dialog boxes.  Of course it also
          includes a range of optimized alphanumeric keyboards with word
          completion.  The Solaris 10 on-screen keyboard can be driven by
          a wide array of access methods (including automatic scanning with
          switch selection, dwell selection with a head pointer, and of course
          direct selection). This allows people with a range of severe physical
          impairments (including quadriplegia, cerebral palsy, multiple
          sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and ALS) to operate Solaris 10!

       The accessibility features of Solaris 10 can be used not just only at
       the graphical desktop - but from the moment the user begins to log
       into the system!  Once configured for accessible login, a Solaris
       10 system will invoke the screen reader or magnifier, or on-screen
       keyboard with a simple gesture from the user - even before they have
       authenticated themselves.  Users can also have a Large Print login
       screen if they desire it, or choose any other included accessibility
       theme.  Of course the accessible login screen is also fully keyboard
       operable, and the TRACE suite of keyboard enhancements can be enabled
       there as well.


       Sun is making Solaris 10 source code available under the Common
       Development and Distribution License, an open source license recognized
       by the Open Source Initiative.  In addition, all of the accessibility
       work developed by Sun for Solaris 10 has been contributed back to the
       GNOME, OpenOffice.org, Mozilla, Evolution, and X communities under their
       respective open source licenses.

       You can download Solaris 10 for SPARC or x86/x64 processors at:

         http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/get.jsp

       View the Solaris 10 Accessibility Guide at:

         http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/doc/817-7307

       View a more lengthy description of the Solaris 10 accessibility
       features, complete with links to pictures of much of the accessibility
       functionality, at:

         http://blogs.sun.com/korn/20050209#solaris_10_another_first_for



     FreeTTS 1.2
     -----------
       FreeTTS is the free, open source text-to-speech engine written in
       the Java programming language.  FreeTTS is based upon Flite, a small,
       fast, run-time speech synthesis engine, which in turn is based upon
       University of Edinburgh's Festival Speech Synthesis System and Carnegie
       Mellon University's FestVox project.  The FreeTTS package includes two
       English languages voices, a limited domain English language voice,
       support for importing a variety of other voices developed elsewhere.

       FreeTTS supports the MBROLA family of voices (developed under a
       European Union initiative and free for non-commercial and non-military
       use), and also the new ARCTIC high-quality unit selection voices.

       FreeTTS partially implements the Java Speech API, and can be used with
       gnome-speech and the Gnopernicus screen reader/magnifier in Solaris and
       GNU/Linux.



On behalf of the Sun Microsystems,

Peter Korn
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
http://www.sun.com/access





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