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Re: [Kenny Hitt] Re: Is Debian appropriate for accessibility?

Kenny Hitt <kenny@hittsjunk.net> writes:

> On Mon, Dec 18, 2006 at 05:47:13PM +0100, Mario Lang wrote:
>> 1. Ubuntu would not exist without Debian.  I guess even some of
>>    the "Ubuntu Accessibility" packages are taken from Debian.
>>    BRLTTY at least comes to mind.
> True.  I believe all the accessibility packages in Ubuntu except speakup
> are main stream Debian packages.  In some cases they are exactly the
> same, in other cases, existing bugs in the Debian packages have been
> fixed in the Ubuntu packages.  libgnome-speech3 is an example of a
> package that started as a main stream Debian package that has had it's
> bugs fixed in the Ubuntu version.

And here is one of the main problems, Ubuntu is benefiting a lot
From Debian as a code base (thats a good thing!) but does
not give back their changes, at least not in a nice way.
Ubuntu is pulling from Debian, but refuses to push back.
For instance, I never heard of any libgnome-speech3 bugs being fixed
in Ubuntu.  I would have liked to, so that Debian users could
also benefit from these changes.

Henrik: Since Ubuntu is still syncing with sid from time to time (at least
thats the latest info I have) would it be possible to get
some sort of an automatic notification system going between our two
Accessibility projects?  I dont know how you guys are handling
such things these days, but I am thinking of some sort
of a patch-generator that mails differences between ubuntu uploads
and their original Debian package parent to the maintainer.
I would even volunteer to be the recipient for such information
and handle the forwarding into the Debian BTS if necessary.

If you see a way to implement something like that (or something
else that helps us communicate technical details), please
consider jumping on this ASAP, so that we can make progress easier
in the future.

>> 3. Still, we seem to be much less effective than the Ubuntu people.
>>    At least the impression is generated in some users.
>> This even went as far as some AT developers recommending to users to
>> switch from Debian to Ubuntu, since Ubuntu is supposed to work better
>> with accessibility.
>> Why is that?
> I believe it happens because accessibility is part of the Ubuntu social
> contract.  This causes Ubuntu to put more focus on accessibility than
> Debian.

I am not sure, I think it has more to do with the fact that Ubuntu
has some paid staff, while Debian only consists of volunteers.

Accessibility is the sort of thing no one cares about,
except they need it, or they get paid for working on it.
You just need to look at the commercial assistive technology
bussiness, I can't think of anything (except maybe military)
that charges such insane amounts of money for their products.

> As far as I know, you are the only Debian developer concerned with
> accessibility.

That is not correct at all.  True, manpower is always limited but, If we only
consider official DDs that are maintaining accessibility-related packages
or have tried to significantly help the Debian Accessibility Project
in the past, I can think of (sorry for all those that I forgot!):
 * Colin Walters <walters@debian.org>
 * Debian GNOME Maintainers <pkg-gnome-maintainers@lists.alioth.debian.org>
 * Denis Barbier <barbier@debian.org>
 * Gustavo Noronha Silva <kov@debian.org>
 * James R. Van Zandt <jrv@debian.org>
 * Milan Zamazal <pdm@debian.org>

And then there are of course those that are not official
DDs, but do provide their contributions in a nice and useable
way though the BTS in the form of patches.

> I rarely if ever see posts from other Debian developers on this
> list.

That is true. The list could be used much more.

Perhaps we should think about using the list address as
a group maintainer address for those accessibility-related
packages that want to use the offer.  This would mean that
new bug-reports get sent here, getting better public review.

> You've done a great job, but accessibility is a large area and you
> are only one person.

I know all this, however, please think about it more.  I think
Accessibility is even bigger then you are currently assuming :-).

  Mario | Debian Developer <URL:http://debian.org/>
  .''`. | Get my public key via finger mlang@db.debian.org
 : :' : | 1024D/7FC1A0854909BCCDBE6C102DDFFC022A6B113E44
 `. `'
   `-      <URL:http://delysid.org/>  <URL:http://www.staff.tugraz.at/mlang/>

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