Saturday Feb 23, 2008

Videos of Orca use in India

I've just come across two YouTube videos talking about Orca use in India. The first video is an eight and a half minute collection of three Indian news reports about a seminar that Mr. Krishnakant Mane held for the blind in India late last year, using Orca and Ubuntu Linux. The second video - titled "True Vision" - is a 10 minute promotional piece by ELCOT (Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited) in cooperation with the Government of Tamil Nadu, talking about their adoption and use of Ubuntu Linux and Orca to help the blind in India.

From the news video, there are two quotes of Krishnakant's that I particularly like:

The beauty of free software is that it is free to use. This is the reason I keep on saying that free as in freedom, not free of cost. You can always make even a business out of it, and we will have done it, and there is nothing wrong in it. But the software does not belong to me, or to you or to him. It belongs to all of us. It belongs to the entire community. And that is the reason it is called free or open source.

and

We are right now promoting free software use for free software actively amongst everyone, including the handicapped community, so that you get the complete benefit of reusing it on n number of machines you want. Modify it as per your requirements. Study it if you want to be a software engineer or a hobbyist. And most importantly, keep on helping others who need it, and you may charge for it of course.

Much of the "True Vision" promotional video, contains an interview with Krishnakant, answering a series of questions about what the blind can do in Linux with Orca. He notes that taskslike web browsing, e-mail, chatting, programming, authoring spreadsheets, and server administration are all quite possible for the blind. Krishnakant also compares open source access solutions to proprietary solutions in Windows. There is also a segment on the seminar that Krishnakant held for the blind (the subject of the first video), in which Krishnakant answers several questions from blind audience members about Orca's capabilities.

My favorite quote from this video comes at the end, from the narrator of the video:

It was we, the normally sighted people, who had been blind throughout, to the wonders of open source technologies on the Linux platform.

In both videos, you can see snippets of Orca with a variety of desktop applications, including with OpenOffice.org, the Firefox web browser, Pidgin chat, and of course the desktop.

Note: I will refrain from commenting on the start of the promotional video, other than to observe a comment that Willie Walker made in recent blog post: "Accessibility was always viewed as that once-in-a-while special interest segment you see on the nightly news -- sappy music playing in the background with the narrator using words such as "bravery," "overcoming hardships" and other content-free ilk meant to focus on the disability and tug at people's heartstrings."

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Peter Korn

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