I'm close to moving back to Windows. I can't tell you how frustrating it is to hold oneself back, deny oneself better and easier accessibility in the name of open source, when many open source developers don't give a crap about accessibility, and/or don't educate themselves on it. KDE connect, GSConnect, all were inaccessible for one reason or another, not the least because of Gnome-shell's terrible accessibility issues. That was just the last straw. With the only thing holding me to Linux being Emacs+Emacspeak, I think its time to quit Linux and just use what actually works. It's interesting how being "free" just means being under the power and whim of other people, a mass of developers who have no insentive for accessibility, rather than a cohesive company who does. This is serious, and I want every developer to understand this, understand my deep frustration with FOSS.
@devinprater I understand, and would ask that - if someone WERE to start an interface that was focused on accessability that you'd work with them on improving it - not neccesarily "fully use it" because you may not be able to at first because of the distance - but give them feedback. Because they'll need someone like you who says "Not good enough."
(not holding my breath here, but it IS going to fall upon folks like you to say "your current shit ain't good enough by a LONG shot" and make people understand this IS a need.)
(Again, my 'nuke gnome from orbit' sense is tingling.)
@Matt_Noyes Debian is better, at least its installer is accessible. But when you get into the GUI, it's the same across all distros, particularly if they use Gnome by default. Mate is the only accessible DE, and it's so bare-bones, without even a notification center. Basically, it's distro independent, because mainly the Desktop Environment matters, and accessibility of apps mattter too.
@devinprater @Matt_Noyes That's frustrating about Gnome and accessibility for the blind, especially since it's quite accessible for the mobility impaired. For a friend, it's significantly more accessible than Windows (though missing the software she needs so it doesn't actually matter for her).
I'm not sure why you dismiss Mate though? It's what I use on laptops. That's good news that it's usable with screen readers. I'll need to give it a try like that.
@devinprater As long as we have that many desktops, there will never be that "one" that can implement accessiblity and general desktop usage.
On the other hand people dont want to have one desktop.
Opensource doesnt work, because people dont work without limitations and restrictions.
Good opensource projects are projects who say "no" and follow an own path instead of a general one and the more its regulated, the better it works - until it hits a frustrating point.
Change my mind.
@fabiscafe @devinprater I was thinking about what a DE could do to be really accessible. And I've just realized that having a lot of different DEs is a good thing in this case. It looks like, on Linux we can just make the accessible IDE. And this could be a good proofing ground for new tools, design decisions, and integrations to be later spread across the entire ecosystem.
The now I think about it the more I feel this is actually the best way.
I can't agree. I think it was the knoppix lead dev who once said that thanks to opensource, we can make a desktop for everyone. 20 years later we have a few, barely working desktops for millions of users.
The one part that everyone seems to ignore is that we *do not* have the manpower to keep even one desktop in a coherent state. GNOME is probably the most developed and most supported desktop and still not even close. Let's not start with the smaller ones who are years behind…
@fabiscafe @devinprater You don't get it. I don't suggest to repeat the work. I suggest to free developers from supporting users that don't need accessibility to exist and focus on making a UI which will be designed from the ground up to provide a proper UX for a specific task.
Like tiling DE doesn't try to be accessible for everyone, the same way this could lead to a perfect choice for a specific group of people.
@devinprater I am not a developer but for me Linux honestly works better. It doesn't destroy itself over forced updates, it has repost and it dose exactly what I want it to do. It took me multiple attempts to stay on Linux but the moment I started up Mint I was lost for Windows. There are issues in both and I fully understand you specially since I switched back from Ubuntu, Manjaro and Debian with Gnome, XFCE and KDE before I found Mint. In the end just use what works for you!
@devinprater I completely understand where you are coming from, and you are right, there hasn't been enough push in the FOSS world for these types of solutions. I wonder though, how much of that is because the people who need them aren't voicing the needs in the right places. FOSS is all about adding what you need, and then sharing it with the masses, unfortunately that means the people who need it, may not be able to create it (easily). I would be interested to know more.
@utahcon We’ve given feedback, we’ve pushed as hard as a small group can. Big FOSS like Gnome and KDE either don’t listen, or too few people in the project listen to make a difference.
@devinprater @utahcon honestly I use FOSS all day every day and even then it sometimes barely works. There's a critical mass issue and the simple fact that if someone's rent isn't being paid then these projects will fall by the wayside. Many of us don't have the spare time to contribute to make software that works, let alone works well for a number of different demographics. (I18n comes to mind, along with the multi decade struggle for a truly dark color scheme.)
@wilbr @devinprater I completely understand your point. I myself don't have much time to contribute back to the projects that don't have immediate impact on my life. However, what I (and everyone) can do is make the suggestions, open the issues, +1 the tickets, and hope they get prioritized. No, it isn't perfect, no one said it would be. You are weighing options, and understandably FOSS won't be for everyone every time.
@devinprater understood. I will miss the presence of every member of the FOSS family that moves back, but I understand that you have to do what is right for you. I will continue to hope that the voices begin to be heard, and I myself will contribute to the needs as best I can in the future. Thanks for bringing light to this situation.
@devinprater I'm sure the GNOME Shell developers and the GTK developers would love your feedback on how to make accessibility better within the ecosystem. Would recommend popping into IRC/Matrix to talk to them about your issues. I think they care quite a bit about accessibility.
@devinprater do you have any recommendations on how to make websites accessible by chance? Screen reader for instance?
@devinprater As a person who believes in the power of Open Source I feel sad to hear that. However, you really should do what is best for you. I really appreciate you kept trying despite it wasn't working for you.
The reality is the majority of work in FOSS is being done by volunteers and they often do just enough to make things work good enough for them.
I really hope you'll find your way into the libre world somehow someday. At some point, we'll be ready to welcome you...
Make a list of issues somewhere that you think are important (and may be getting overlooked by developers). I'd be happy to take a peek at some of them, and see if I might fix any of them.
@zachdecook A lot of it is about desktop environments, Orca, and lots of web issues. And Thunderbird is the only mail client we can use in the GUI.
@devinprater like "program X doesn't work well with orca"?
Haven't used thunderbird in a while... have kind of given up hope for it.
@zachdecook Yeah. Thunderbird is all blind people have. So that you don’t have much hope for it is not a good sign lol. On Windows at work I just use the Gmail web client. It's the most accessieable client on almost any platform, surprisingly. No it's not perfect, and Appple’s mail app on the Mac is better, but it's the best Windows has.
i know this isn't really an immediate kind of help,
but every time i used orca to test webpages i got pretty sorely tired of it not supporting the i3 window manager's desktops.
to the point i think i'd be fully willing to take a paid job improving orca for everybody's really specific use cases if only one were available
> being "free" just means being under the power and whim of other people
The relevant freedom here is the ability to tweak the software to meet your needs or recruit someone to do it for you. If everyone with accessiblity gripes who isn't a programmer gave detailed, *encouraging* critical feedback to the relevant developers, I suspect the accessibility of free code software would be much better.
More so if there was a bounty fund for accessiblity work on free code projects.
@strypey Yeah, just more "be the change you want to see" stuff. You don’t think we try? We need energy for all that. And some of us don’t have time to be rejected again, and again, and again by big FOSS like Gnome, where all our accessibility issues go into a black hole, just like Google. And GTK4 doesn’t matter *that* much if gnome-shell is so crappy that you can't really use it as a desktop environment in the first place. Even long-time blind Linux users are considering just putting Android on their computers. That shows systemic failure that not even die-hard FOSS bros can't handle.
@devinprater Too many users seem to expect perfect performance from software they don't have to pay for. If users aren't willing to put in either money or effort, how do you think the situation can be improved? Do you really think calling people names ("FOSS bros") on social media helps? Do you think proprietary OS would care about accessibility if they didn't have to compete with OS that are free (libre *and* gratis)?
@easrng @strypey Well Termux, accessibility is very rudimentary. Whenever one presses Enter after typing a command, TalkBack reads the entire screen again, and after the next command, it reads the entire screen again, and so on. So I just SSH into that lol. Or I use clear after each command. But I'd never use Emacs on that.
@devinprater it’s not just accessibility either. There’s little or no focus on basic usability features either.
I don’t see any of that changing anytime soon as those designing the interfaces are technical people without any need for usability or accessibility and thus it just doesn’t occur to them.
@devinprater This is sad to read, but I can't blame you. I want FOSS to work, just on principle. I don't think that our access to computers should be dependent on a small number of people at Microsoft (a team I'm no longer on, by my own choice), or at Apple or Google for that matter. But I can't deny that, for many tasks, Windows is indeed much more usable with a screen reader than desktop Linux. I returned to Windows myself after running Linux briefly. So by all means do what works for you.
I feel your pain. I'm new to Linux and I'm struggling. I guess it's part of the learning curve.
@devinprater 1/3 I’m sorry you’re feeling so frustrated. You have my sympathy. I can relate in a limited capacity insofar as the feeling of banging your head against the brick wall that is Linux is concerned. I am (was) a long time user of Linux, various distros but most experienced with Debian, and later Ubuntu. I gotta tell you, after struggling endlessly with tweaking, configuring, fixing and implementing workarounds, I finally decided that I was wasting my time instead of my living life.
@devinprater 2/3 It sounds to me like you’re experiencing something similar. My sincere, heartfelt suggestion to you is to use what works best for you. If contributing to FOSS accessibility is important to you, then you can do so by running it on the side, instead of it being your daily driver. In fact, you might even be able to better compare and contrast features and functionality if you use a proprietary system that works for you. That way, you contribute, but drop the daily frustration.
@devinprater 3/3 You don’t owe it to FOSS to have to struggle and have your work, personal use and enjoyment hindered by the lack of attention by FOSS developers to your needs in accessibility. Good luck! I wish you better computing experiences ahead. 💛
@shahaan Exactly! And with Windows havIng WSL, and GUI support coming, I think I’ll be able to run Emacs with Emacspeak, and have the best of both worlds! I just can't cling to pure FOSS anymore. I’m not productive, especially on' the web, where much of my $dayjob takes place.
@devinprater Great! I would be interested in hearing about your accessibility experience and how it compares after your shift to Windows, if you decide to write about it that is. Feel free to tag me. Have a good one! 😊
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