Re: Open Letter: How the FOSS Community May Help Disabled Users

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On Sat, Apr 29, 2006 13:25:48 PM +0930, Tim
(ignored_mailbox@xxxxxxxxxxxx) wrote:

> If disabled people want some kind of help, it is better for them to
> seek it out, in the manner that they want to.

One quick comment/reminder on this: generally speaking, I'd agree, but
this strategy (which is nothing more that what's happened so far) just
won't work here.

The specific problem I've reported in my article, and tried to address
with the open letter, is just that:

* many disabled people seem to NOT want any kind of FOSS related
  help. They want to NOT use it. They do NOT want to change. 
  The help they are *already* "seeking out, in the manner they want to"
  is to be spared the whole issue and keep using Windows, period. All
  the FSF-speak about "Free as in Freedom" doesn't mean anything at
  all to them, when they don't see it as an insult. See Pietrosanti's
  comments, or the Boston meetings ones in my article on this exact

  So, in this particular case, if one just waits for them to come asking
  for help, hell could freeze over before that happens.

* since disabled users *have* legal arguments to enforce their
  perspective, and Microsoft *is* already exploiting them to block
  OpenDocument and, indirectly, all FOSS, all FOSS users have a
  concrete problem here. One which won't go away by just being ready
  for when an help request comes.

This is why I'm suggesting that LUGs and similar groups make the first
step, each one in its area: to establish links, know each other, make
sure that developers receive the right feedback to increase
accessibility and that disabled users understand why they can't ignore
issues like document ownership, interoperability etc.. anymore

> consistent hotkeys... if achievable it would mean that users can
> use different systems without too much difficulties.

> a really stupid annoyance with many programs that would be easily
> fixable: Use normal language, with proper punctuation in message
> dialogues. Speech synthesisers read them out more intelligibly that
> way.

Exactly, thanks. These two examples explain PERFECTLY why I think that
organizing focused install festivals and similar events would be an
excellent way to keep public sector doors open for FOSS.

Hell will freeze over if you wait for a disabled user to come to a LUG
or a bugzilla page to file similar issues. He'll just keep using
windows.  Period. Because it would probably require him many hours of
cursing at non accessible installers before he can even start to
_encounter_ the problems you mentioned.

If you make the first step and send an invitation saying something
like "hello, we are testing the accessibility of some "new" software:
would you be available to spend an hour or two next week to test it?
We'd take care of all the logistic, provide an already configured
computer/laptop...." is a totally different thing.


Marco Fioretti                    mfioretti, at the server
Fedora Core 3 for low memory

[media giants] have no idea how to do business with resourceful human
beings rather than passive vegetables. So they run to [the] government
for protection."  -- Doc Searls on the SSSCA, in Linux Journal

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