Thursday Dec 18, 2008

Accessible OpenSolaris 2008.11

A couple of weeks ago Sun released OpenSolaris 2008.11. For the last year or more, Sun's Willie Walker has led the OpenSolaris accessibility effort, and this recent release shows all of the tremendous work done by Willie and a host of engineers on the OpenSolaris team. Particular attention was paid to accessible install (leading one blind OpenSolaris user to say "it was the smoothest operating system install that I have ever performed"). Leveraging the Sun-led open source GNOME accessibility work, OpenSolaris includes the latest in assistive technologies like Orca and GOK and Dasher, as well as a host of other accessibility enhancements that have been developed in the open source GNOME community.

Using the occasion of this release of OpenSolaris, Sun's Bill Vass wrote movingly about Dismantling the Digital Divide in his blog last week. In my meetings with Bill, I've always been impressed with his passion around technology accessibility, and the focus he brings to accessibility within Sun Federal which he leads.

Willie put together a great set of videos which demonstrate the accessibility features available in OpenSolaris 2008.11. I encourage you to check them out!

Monday Dec 11, 2006

Orca and Dasher on OpenSolaris

The Solaris operating system release cycle is somewhat slower than that of many (most?) GNU/Linux systems. This has meant that a lot of the recent great work on accessibility that Sun has been leading and contributing to in GNOME have appeared in Linux systems, but not (yet) in Solaris.

That has now changed. Earlier today, OpenSolaris build 53 became available for download. OpenSolaris is the open source edition of Solaris. Build 53 is based on GNOME 2.16.1, which includes Orca version 1.0 and Dasher version 4.2.0. (it also continues to contain GOK, which was also in Solaris 10 - version 1.2.0 of GOK is in build 53). So, if you are interested in exploring the open source scripting screen reader Orca on Solaris, or the amazing alternate text-entry system Dasher on Solaris, we invite you to do so in build 53 of OpenSolaris. You can also of course continue to try and use these assistive technologies on GNU/Linux systems like Ubuntu version 6.10 and Fedora Core 6.

For folks wanting to try the very latest editions of Orca and Dasher (and GOK) on Solaris, also install the Sun Studio 11 development tools and grab and build the latest Orca and/or Dasher (and/or GOK) sources (from either the source tarballs or from the CVS code repository directly).

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Peter Korn

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