GNOME Accessibility turns 4 today!
By Peter Korn on Oct 19, 2004
The summit was a public meeting in the Embassy Suites Hotel which was webcast and close captioned by our friends at Able TV. The meeting followed our press release announcing Sun's intentions of helping make GNOME accessible. At the meeting, we laid out our thoughts and ideas of the problem space and how to address it.
Since that meeting four years ago, Sun and the GNOME Community have been busy. Together in four years we have:
- Proposed and implemented keyboard navigation specifications for all GNOME/GTK+ widgets
- Gave a bunch of presentations on GNOME accessibility, introducing hundreds of developers to the topic.
- Did the first release of the GNOME with basic accessibility support - GNOME 2.0.
- Published the GNOME Accessibility Guide with GNOME 2.0 (and updated it for 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, and 2.8).
- Released GNOME 2.4 with early versions of two assistive technologies - namely Gnopernicus and GOK
- Released GNOME 2.6 that includes the third assistive technology - the keyboard alternative Dasher (note: that release contained some other nice accessibility updates too)
- Provided an audio taste of GNOME Accessibility via the Gnopernicus screen reader in a series for ACB Radio. Follow links to listen to parts 1, 2, 3, and 4
- Was the recipient of the American Foundation for the Blind Hellen Keller Achievement Award
- Saw GOK receive the Trophee du Libre award in the Accessibility category - with Gnopenicus as finalist
- Developed a Sanity Test Suite to help UNIX and Linux distributions verify they are properly supporting GNOME Accessibility and the two Assistive Technologies Gnopernicus and GOK.
Not bad for a 4 year old!
We've also been busy in the broader Universe of UNIX and GNU/Linux accessibility - an effort that got a large shot in the arm as a result of the GNOME Accessibility work. In those same last four years, we've seen:
- The creation of the Free Desktop Accessibility Working Group
- The birth of the OpenOffice.org accessibility project and the release of OpenOffice.org 1.1 with support for GNOME accessibility via theming and the GNOME Accessibility API
- The Mozilla accessibility effort expanding to address UNIX accessibility - by way of supporting the GNOME Accessibility architecture
- The start of the KDE Accessibility Project which has made a lot of solid progress, including...
- A technology preview of KDE's Qt 4 support for accessibility, with a bridge to the GNOME Accessibility API
- The emergence of the Free Standards Group's Accessibility Working Group
- A host of accessibility conferences and accessibility sessions, some of which are even reported here
- The general availability of GNOME Accessibility in the Fedora distribution
I'm keen to see what the next few years hold in store for us!