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Re: Help needed: People willing to help co-maintain debian accessibility packages

Andreas Tille <tillea@rki.de> writes:

> Hi,
> I can not help out personally but I have learned to know Jan Buchal
> at LSM (2000, 2001 and 2004) and perhaps he or some people he knows
> are willing to help in this common effort.

Yes, thanks, I know Jan personally as well (from LSM 2003 IIRC).  His team
is in fact already helping, namely, Milan Zamazal, who is a official Debian
Developer is maintaining speech-dispatcher and speechd-el upstream as well as
in Debian.  Since speechd-el is more or less a direct replacement for
Emacspeak which was called into existance because of frustration with how
certain things work in emacspeak, I kind of doubt he (milan) is interested
in maintaining emacspeak.  OTOH, it would of course be wonderful,
since much of the required knowhow to do the job properly is already there.
Milan?  <blink> :-)

> I would love to see Debian as the system of choice for disabled people.
> It is just because they could do themselves what other people are not doing
> for them.

Of course, it would be ideal if more people with disabilities
would work on this directly.  However, I think we are facing a kind
of bootstrap problem.  For now, we definitely need every helping hand
to make the overall system more attractive and to stay on
top of things.
> Kind regards and good luck for your project
>          Andreas.
> On Mon, 25 Jul 2005, Mario Lang wrote:
>> Hi.
>> As many of you might already have noticed, I recently didn't have as
>> much time for Debian related work as I'd wish (or as the size of the
>> packages I'm involved in would require).  It is now about 2
>> years since the Debian Accessibility project started, and the number
>> of active maintainers of accessibility packages seems to actually go down.
>> For instance, the Emacspeak maintainer recently gave up emacspeak
>> and asked me to take over maintainership.  Since I very rarely use
>> Emacspeak these days, it is just yet another thing adding to my TODO list...
>> I actually tried to prepare an upload of emacspeak 21 for
>> several hours, but since something obscure kept breaking I finally
>> gave up on it for a while.
>> We seriously need people willing to help maintain various a11y related
>> packages.
>> I'd like to get help on the following packages:
>> * Emacspeak: Someone to fully take this over would be ideal.
>>  I've already asked Sam Hartman but he doesn't have time either
>>  and would only take emacspeak over if not doing so would mean it
>>  gets removed from the archives.  We are at release 17, while
>>  upstream is at release 22. Tasks which would need doing are:
>>  * Get emacspeak-22 into unstable
>>  * Get rid of non-debconf prompting
>>  You should be able to work on elisp packages fairly independently,
>>  don't expect upstream to give you much help.
>> * speakup: A co-maintainer on this one would be wonderful.  I once bought
>>  a hardware speech synthesizer for testing speakup, but since
>>  my primary output medium is still braille, it doesn't get as
>>  much attention as I'd wish it should.  Besides, I always
>>  had those strange lockups when speakup tries to deliver a lot
>>  of speech to the serial port, which very badly interacts
>>  with my other pet interests, namely low-latency audio work,
>>  so I had to finally stop using the prebuild speakup kernel images myself... :(
>> Besides, we'd need people to work on specific tasks which involve
>> several packages:
>> * A framework for building drivers for commercial software speech
>>  synthesizers on Debian is needed.  Examples include
>>  gnome-speech and Emacspeak.  I am not a fan of non-free software,
>>  but in the area of software speech, free software is not delivering
>>  what the users require, so there are actually some commercial
>>  software speech packages out there which are used by
>>  the typical blind user using speech.  We sould make it as easy as possible
>>  for those users to install support for their favourite commercial synth
>>  into backends like gnome-speech.  This is obviously a quite involved
>>  task, since in the end it means the person doing this would
>>  need to buy most of the available software for testing.
>> * We should assess what the current situation regarding
>>  gnopernicus and Java-based applications or OpenOffice
>>  is.  What would need to be done to make gnoperncius
>>  support Java apps on Debian out of the box?  Can it be done
>>  with the currently available Java tools in Debian or is
>>  a (non-free) JDK required?  If so, what would be needed to make
>>  gnopernicus/OpenOffice cooperate with the free java tools?
>> * A access initrd for Debian-Installer CDs would be needed.
>>  Currently, accessibility drivers are only available via the
>>  access floppies.  As we all know, floppies are legacy these days,
>>  and we should offer these drivers on the standard CD.  AIUI, a special
>>  isolinux target with a special initrd should suffice.  Someone
>>  with debian-cd and debian-installer background, or the willingness
>>  to learn a lot, would be required for this task.
>> If you want to help improve overall a11y of Debian, this
>> is your chance.  As usual, volunteering for one of these jobs
>> automatically means you accept to work within the Debian framework,
>> i.e. you go with Debian Policy.  I can sponsor packages
>> if someone not yet in Debian wants to help, but only
>> if: 1) That person actually knows what he/she is doing.  The idea of this
>> call for help is to get some work off my back, not to add even
>> more.  If I have to doublecheck every single line of changes you
>> do, this is not helpful.   and 2) you should consider applying
>> as a Debian developer.  I am not happy with sponsoring people
>> who actually dont want to be official developers at some point
>> in the near future.
>> Accessibility, as some of you may know, is one of the painful
>> areas in Free software.  Usually, people scratch their own itches,
>> and so bugs get fixed, but accessibility involves 1) very small
>> specialized groups of people and 2) many different types of these
>> small groups.  So there are a lot of unsolved problems out there, and
>> very few people actually interested to solve these.  If you
>> are looking for an area of Free Software development that really
>> needs (wo)manpower, consider helping to make Free Software (and
>> Debian in particular) more useable for people with various disabilities.
>> Perhaps some more words of clarification:  I am definitely *NOT* planning
>> on leaving the project, I'd just like to see more active development then
>> I can currently deliver.  So for the sake of transparency,
>> this mail is basically an information on what needs
>> doing, and a call for people to actually do these things :-)


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