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[to all candidates] Accessible software in Debian


To make a rather complicated and long story short: Accessibility of
graphical user interfaces in Debian has taken a slight step backward
with the GNOME 3 rewrite.  Squeeze was more stable regarding this.

While discussing this topic on IRC with other Debian people I was kind
of shocked to read that basically every feature can be dropped anytime,
and since accessibility is for a very small user group, that user group
suffering from big rewrites is "normal" and acceptable.

I'd like to know your opinion on this.  Are people with disabilities
something that we want to support, or is it just luck if "they" get a
working system.  As a Free Software community, should we make sure that
the digital divide is not going to increase, or is accessibility just
margin topic which we as a community do not really care about?

If you think we should make sure to provide maximum accessibility to our
users, do you have any idea what to do to ensure that?

I realize the provokativeness of this mail.  However, I feel I really
have to ask this question publicly.  When I read the reactions "quoted"
above on IRC, my heart felt heavy, and I was seriously considering for
a moment to leave Debian, since the attitude I've read there was really very
discouraging to me personally.  Actually, I didn't expect a rteaction
like this from fellow DDs.

I realize that accessibility is suffering from the same lack of manpower
issues that most other free software projects have.  But I am still
enthusiastic enough to hope for some sort of solution that will work
around the "small margin group" problem in one or another way.

Do you have any ideas what we could do to raise awareness of
accessibility issues, and maybe motivate developers who are currently
not into accessibiility work in any way, to start caring about various
issues around accessibility for people with disabilities.

After all, we will all grow old, and our eyes and ears will eventually
start to fail slightly.  I guess at least then people will enjoy if
their favourite desktops on Linux would help them to still be able to do
quality work with their computers.  And I dont mean just reading and
replying mail, I mean everything else that people without diminished
vision or hearing or mobility would want to do.

If you wait until your body fails you, it might be too late to catch up then.


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