[Accessibility] [lsb-discuss] Motif and LSB

Bill Haneman Bill.Haneman at Sun.COM
Thu Nov 16 16:09:10 PST 2006

Willie Walker wrote:
> Sorry if I muddy these waters a little bit...
> There's some work that was done in the early 1990's for Motif that was
> published informally as a v0.2 spec in 1993 and was more officially
> published in 1995:
> http://www-static.cc.gatech.edu/~keith/pubs/xresource-95.pdf
> Phew.  It's been a while and RAP is old and outdated.  One of the core
> components of RAP, however, has always been kind of a pet of mine: a
> programming-language-independent *protocol* versus a
> programming-language-dependent API.
I suppose we have this now, in AT-SPI's existing CORBA ABI; the CORBA 
interfaces primarily define a protocol.  The APIs on a per-language 
basis are defined secondarily, by the OMG CORBA binding spec for each 
language, wrapping a standard, language-independent protocol.

This is indeed an attractive idea, and one of the reasons we went with 
CORBA in the beginning of AT-SPI.
> I often wonder if it will ever be possible (or desirable) for graphical
> platforms such as GNOME, KDE, Windows, and the Mac to agree to a common
> accessibility protocol.  While I think a common solution certainly could
> potentially make life easier for cross-platform application developers
> (think of Firefox and its need to support both MSAA and AT-SPI) and
> cross-platform assistive technology developers (do any exist?), I've
> sensed a bit of resistance from others when I've broached this subject
> with them.  In any case, it seems as though we may have a potentially
> viable and ubiquitous transport/communication mechanism for this
> protocol: web services.
I differ strongly about the utility of web services for accessibility; 
the granularity of the web service model seems wrong to me, and the 
performance would IMO be inadequate for our needs.

I do think the protocol-based way of thinking about these things makes 
sense, and in fact I think our current model may be best thought of (and 
tested) that way.  The "AT-SPI/DBus" proposals basically would replace 
the protocol with a DBUS-based protocol having the same API characteristics.


> Will
> On Thu, 2006-11-16 at 15:46 -0500, Janina Sajka wrote:
>> Alan writes:
>>>> Of course, the larger issue is how prevalent this will be as we go
>>>> out and talk to ISVs, particularly those coming from the Unix world.
>>>> If the use of Motif is still widespread, and ISVs generally have no
>>>> interest in moving to Gtk and Qt (as Adobe, Real, and others
>>>> we are working with have done), then we need to find a good solution
>>>> for the Motif issue. Naturally, we'll have to weigh this
>>>> with the other urgent matters that we're currently dealing with too. :-)
>>>> Any thoughts on what to do here?
>>> One thing to note is the status of accessibility and accessibility
>>> legislation. That puts right and proper pressure on vendors to ship
>>> accessible software.
>> Unfortunately, there's no accessibility support in Motif. Someone else
>> needs to weigh in on how difficult it might be to add a11y support, but
>> I suspect it wouldn't be trivial.
>> Janina
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