[Accessibility] Solaris 10 released,
with accessibility built-in! Also FreeTTS 1.2 released.
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
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
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
- 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:
View the Solaris 10 Accessibility Guide at:
View a more lengthy description of the Solaris 10 accessibility
features, complete with links to pictures of much of the accessibility
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
On behalf of the Sun Microsystems,
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
More information about the Accessibility