[Accessibility] Accessibility minutes for May 24, 2006

John Goldthwaite jgoldthwaite at yahoo.com
Tue May 30 10:32:51 PDT 2006

5/24/06 FSG Accessibility meeting notes        .
John Goldthwaite
Bill Hanaman
George Kraft
Peter Korn
Ian Murdock- LSB summit chair
Janina Sajka
Gunnar Schmidt
Olaf Schmidt
Larry Weiss

Ian Murdock joining us today- Founded Debian distribution of Linux. Now CTO for Free Standards Group, has been in that position for 6 months We just released LSB 3.1 a couple of weeks ago. Looking at what comes next in 3.2 and 4.0 and accessibility is on short list for the next versions of LSB. I’m interested in bringing the workgroups closer together that they have been historically. The LSB is largely is a trailing edge standard, follow what is practice in the major distributions.  Want to get more leading edge for accessibility. There is more work to do on the leading edge. I would like to get a balance where LSB does the trailing edge function aligning the various activities of the Free Standards Group and providing a delivery mechanism into the Linux distributions and pushing the envelope on accessibility.        
Minutes for last week distributed last night.  Approved with no objections.

Janina- On cleaning up membership list, I have not contacted people who haven’t filled out the php form. George has cleaned up the form and obfuscated the email addresses.  Next action is Gunnar’s question on the keyboard spec which is the last outstanding item before sending the spec to the FSG board.
Bill - is the list urgent?
Janina- not terribly urgent but it is good to have an accurate list with the increased attention we are receiving this year.  It is a quick, easy form to fill out.
Gunnar- spammers have added a lot of entries using the form.  
Janina- we’ll ask George to clean those off.  New business is the upcoming summit June 1 & 2 in Boston which Ian is chairing.  I am planning to attend on at least the first day.  We want to see who else from FSG should be present to move accessibility forward with all the FSG groups, what message we want to carry and what support we want to look for from a closer cooperation with the LSB and the other FSG working groups. 

Summit Agenda- www.freestandards.org/en/Lsb_Summit

Ian- 2 day meeting June 1 & 2 concurrent with the usenix conference in Boston.  The purpose is creating roadmap for LSB 3.2 – high level roadmap for next 2-3 years.  Attendees are people from the major distributions, FSG members, Intel, IBM, desktop projects, FSG projects, vendors.  List of topics - desktop.  LSB 3.1 has desktop functionality in it but limited to toolkits.  Want to extend desktop up the stack incorporating parts of Gnome and KDE including some of the Portland project to make Gnome and KDE more interoperable.  Internationalization, Accessibility.  Both of these are things the LSB workgroup thinks need to be “Baked in” not added on. We want to make sure we are thinking about these from an integrated perspective. Language runtimes, getting PERL, Python, maybe Java into the LSB.  Packaging, printing, font management.  Accessibility is on the agenda.  Many of these things intersect with Accessibility as well.  Day 1 is largely planning, second day will be
 taking the roadmap and marshaling resources to get the work done. We are looking at LSB 3.2 release about a year from now. We are trying to position LSB for companies planning products for Linux in a way that isn’t specific to any Linux distribution.  We are thinking of the LSB from a platform perspective. Do we provide the right facilities for a developer to write portable Linux applications? We are investing in developer programs, how do we make it easy to target the LSB as a way to write a portable application.  How can we provide the same sort of platform experience that Microsoft provides around Windows.   We’re integrating a number of other standards into a platform that developers can use.  All the distributions comply with the LSB so this should be a good delivery mechanism for the accessibility work.

Janina- this reminds me of some of the conversations we had around AT/SPI where we figured out how KDE and Gnome could agree on under the hood things for accessibility so it won’t matter what Assistive Technology did as long as it talked the AT/SPI  messaging protocols; we’d be able to support accessibility as long as the application supports the AT-SPI.  How do we put accessibility into the kind of plan Ian is talking about.  We have libraries on the way.  We have assistive technologies that will become parts of the desktops, some already are, others are coming.  We can expect that distributions will be shipping screenreaders, magnifiers.  There are gaps such as a spoken interface. There is the wider area where we provide support via toolkits such as ATK and the accessibility work QT is adding with Harald’s work, getting applications to use these, using it appropriately and knowing you have used it appropriately.  How do we get this accomplished.  Do we ask LSB not
 to accept an application for distribution if it doesn’t comply with accessibility?

Ian- we’ve aligned the LSB roadmap with the roadmaps for the major distribution releases.  RedHat, Suse, the enterprise version, Debian.  Most of the others are derivatives of one of those or follow the lead of one of those. We’ve lined up LSB 3 with upcoming generation of each of these.  Any thing in rel 5/10 will be out in a couple of months, Rel 5 will be out later in the year. 3.2. anything that is in Rel 5 /10 is a candidate for LSB 3.2. LSB 4.0 we’ve arranged to line that up with the next generation,  Rel 6/11 etc..    We are hoping to make the LSB a more of a distribution mechanism for leading edge standards.  Suggested dividing into things in the distributions today, 3.2 release material, and those that we’d like to have in the release in the future.    We can put that on the table for 4.0 and hopefully get the distributions to come up with a strategy to get those technologies into the distribution. 

Peter-we have been concerned with people understanding what accessibility LSB standard means.  It does not mean everything will automatically be accessible, just that the architecture is there for developers to create accessible apps and compatible assistive technologies.  How do we best communicate that under the LSB rubric?
Ian- the LSB is largely a development platform.  By saying something is LSB compliant, your are saying the facilities to write an application that take advantage of those services are there/ doesn’t mean they are there by default.  For example with printing- could there be a “works with Unix” certification which matches up distributions and printers so you know if a printer will work. That is different from what the current LSB does but is that a role that the LSB could play? Think about how the LSB brand could be leveraged to facilitate accessibility.

George- I put some items in the Wiki but I’m not at a computer, could you read those? 

1- Pending ATK, AT/SPI enhancements for Gnome 2.14, 2.15., 2.16 and 2.18

George- this group has been work on enhancements to ATK and AT-SPI - let you know which level of Gnome will include these. That is what the applications will link to and be dependent upon. That seems good for the application runtime dependency, we need to let you know which level ATK and Gnome you are looking for. LSB 3.1 is Gnome 2.8 or 2.10  This sets the level of expectations about what we have, when these new accessible support features will show up. That may not be an LSB 3.2 may be LSB 4.0 but we need to anticipate these changes and document the changes.  Need to work on some conformance tests for ATK so they can be included in the LSB portfolio.
Janina- where are we with QT?
Gunnar- for KDE 4 we are at the point of designing things.  We will release the bridges to ATK when there are the first users for them. It will happen with in the next time period.  For the general discussion on LSB, I was wondering about the keyboard spec.  When we released that, once we fix the wording issues, I think the end result will be that KDE 3.4 or 3.5 are conformant with the spec. There are some things to do with Gnome to make it reliable- as long a distros don’t ship a new version of Gnome, we couldn’t make that a requirement for LSB certification.  Maybe it is necessary to get as many parts of accessibility into LSB but still have a separate specification for those distributions that ship software that.         

George- I added the X keyboard libraries to list on the Summit page.  It would be good to get xkeyboard and Xkeyboard UI , those two libraries and the  UI’s should be included, if LSB could import those into the database and spec those out.  The ABI seems pretty stable.    

2- X keyboard ABI

George- there is a link to LSB futures page where I’ve populated a the criteria for X keyboard.  How it is supported, who is using it.  You raise the level of confidence and the LSB will import it.

Bill- you mentioned QT had support for some of the accessibility APIs.  Is that through Q-accessible?
Gunnar- yes
Bill-   Is it extended to support all of AT/SPI?  Is it as feature complete as ATK?
Olaf- I haven’t done the work. I trust that Harald has done it. Harald is following the discussions and is working on it. 
George- talked to Harald and asked him if he’d been keeping up and he said he had been.
Olaf- I spoke to him after the document interface discussion and asked him if it creates problems there.  He say it was flexible enough, we can change bridges for any changes we will make.
Bill- just wanted to see if Q-accessible has all the extensions we need.
Ian- one complication for QT,  LSB 3.1 stopped at QT 3 because Redhat said they did not intend to ship QT 4 in Rel 5 because that they didn’t see demand for QT 4.  Someone on Accessibility said that QT4 would enhance accessibility.  So it would be good to let Redhat know that.  Until RedHat is shipping it, we’re not going to be able to include it.
Olaf- I asked the LSB to contact Redhat..  After flamewar, it looks like they don’t want me to contact Redhat on this topic.  So I am not the person to talk to Redhat about it.

Janina- we have most of what we need in QT4 already but there are things missing.  We are waiting for implementers before QT4 is completed.
Ian- in terms of the LSB we are waiting for Redhat to uplift to QT 4 before the LSB includes it.   It is important strategically for the LSB to keep RedHat support.  There are good reasons for Redhat to be including QT4 in their evaluations- skyp wants to use it because they are porting to QT4, other technologies such as accessibility want to use it.
Janina- want to continue the conversation so we’re pulling together.  Not time to push too hard on Redhat from the accessibility standpoint, there is still some work to be done on our end.  
Olaf- there will be work to be done on our end for some time.  
George- to work around this, the LSB is the FSG flagship product standard. Have the LSB show us how to create a database, ABI spec and  we spec out FSG QT4 spec.  We can hand that off or have LSB QT4 ABI spec and ask the FSG to have a standard that would include that.  Or we can have an accessible standard beyond the LSB.
Bill- if what we are talking about is timing, I can understand QT community wanting to have an upto date version in the toolkit.  As long as we have a roadmap for when it will get in when there is demand for it. That is good, maybe not optimum.  If they want to use QT4 we can say its not there now but will be in the next version.
Ian- We did create QT4 in an optional module.  Trolltech worked with us. If you go to the FSG site, download, you can download the LSB QT4 specification.  It is not in the certifications offerings and you can’t certify to it but for runtimes that want to provided it, they can and they are encouraged to provide the standard version. This is a way to put more leading functionality into the LSB without moving too far beyond what current distros support. We do the work up front so people can experiment with it.  We put together a back-end infrastructure that you are welcome to use.  We’re thinking along the same lines.  On the list George asked me to read there is :
3- ATK conformance test.        
4-  FSG products standard for accessibility
George- Peter touched on it, what does accessibility mean for development environment and user environment. 
Janina- we started those last year but we put them aside after talking to Jim Zemlin as they didn’t look like the most pressing issue.
Olaf- my impression is that what we can do for the middle term is provide input to the LSB about what sort of libraries should be included in the standard. There is already ATK but if XKB is added that will be useful.  Also, at the same time we release a number of accessibility standards.  The question of how to create conformance tests is something that is farther off.
George- Actually at IBM, we are working on beginning the conformance tests for ATK.  Hopefully in a week or two we will be able to show that to the group and see if that is approach to testing that layer.  We can work from that baseline.

 Olaf- In LSB we have an optional QT module, we have a conformance test but don’t have an official certification project.  The accessibility standard we are creating might be similar at first. Can make sense to include them in the LSB until we have a large enough number of standards that are supported by the distributions to justify test. 
Ian- Anything in distro now in 3.2, think about specifications.  We have a year to do the tests.  In 4.0 time frame, this group can bring its expertise.  Do same kind of work in an optional module context and engage in an on going dialog with the distributions through the LSB.  All the distributions are enthusiastic about working with us. The only one that is less enthusiastic is Redhat which is the market leader and needs us least. We are in a good position to have a dialog with the vendors and let’s maximize that.

Janina- I will talk briefly about multimedia at the Summit, we don’t have solutions but know our requirements and want to get them on the table.  Ian, thank you very much for joining us.  Next week we will have our discussion on SVG so we can move to understanding of how to do graphics more accessible.
Peter- would it be possible to summarize what discussion the ODF had on SVG so we can read that prior to the meeting.
Janina- I was going to work on that.  But I’m concerned about how to make it usable by people with little experience on accessibility.  We’ve had some request for people that haven’t attended accessibility.
Peter- We would be able to contribute more with some background.
Janina- I will work on it.
Bill- If there is prior art on the graphic labeling problem, I would like to see it.  It is an extensible standard, people probably have been putting metadata in the SVG.
Janina- some of that in ODF.  Conversation in W3C was on developing something comprehensive but don’t know what their time frame is.  Want to get something in ODF immediately.  
Peter - perhaps a version of the IBM slide presentation -Shaeko from IBM Japan on the types of information in slides.  Graphics are generally using SVG and ODF.  Having a representative sample of graphics        
Janina- I’ll ask Rich to see if Shaeko can provide us with a cleaned up version.

John Goldthwaite
jgoldthwaite at yahoo.com
828 885-5304
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