Another draft [was Re: [Accessibility] Statement of Intent]

Olaf Schmidt ojschmidt at
Fri Jul 29 18:07:53 PDT 2005

Hi Bill!

Thanks for your second draft.

I like it, even though you indeed left out some of my points. I will simply 
put them back. :-)

> Please revise and send the next iteration :-) 

OK, here it is:

We are members of the Gnome and KDE Accessibility Projects, and also
the Free Standards Group's Accessibility Workgroup.  We would like to
clarify the current plans and intent of our projects with respect to
interoperability and standardization, and feel that the following statement 
represents a consensus among the membership of these groups.

We have decided against standardizing on a single toolkit or desktop. To do 
otherwise would limit end-user choice and harm the cause of accessibility. 
The assistive technologies written for GNOME and KDE suit reach different 
needs, and our aim is interoperability rather than unnecessary duplication.

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 the
toolkit-neutrality of accessibility interfaces.  A key goal
of the ongoing standardization effort, which is inclusive rather than
exclusive, is long-term interoperability of accessibility solutions for
the free desktop.

The current KDE4 roadmap 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 benefit to the user.  At the same time, we are 
actively working together to develop a future strategy which eliminates 
dependencies of KDE accessibility on Gtk 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
as IDL), and allow for the possibility of 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.

Rational for adding the new paragraph: We don't want to create the impression 
that the KDE4 accessibility roadmap is almost exclusively about AT-SPI and 
compatibility with GNOME. I also think that we should explicitly state that 
standardizing on a single desktop or toolkit is harmful to accessibility, as 
we consented at the phone conference.

I was wondering whether we should mention that we have already achieved 
important parts of interoperability, for that example KDE applies high 
contrast colour settings also to Gtk programs. But describing this in detail 
would of course be too much for this declaration. Instead we could submit a 
joint news story to and including a summary of 
the assistive technologies and accessibility features we already have in 
GNOME and KDE, where we have already achieved interoperability, and where we 
are working on it.


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