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?
@marie_joseph @devinprater yeah I've had my head down in MDN while I've built my website. I probably should try to read the sections that you are referring to however. I've been throwing up some aria-labels where I've felt they're appropriate but I need to just bust out a screen reader to understand what is actually being read.
@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...
@nanook It isn't mentioned in your profile, so I gotta ask; are you blind?
If not, have you considered that the reason why @devinprater is having all these problems you "don't understand" might be the fact that most developers do not (want to) ensuring their software works for disabled people? Especially given that accessibility was mentioned in the OP. Might want to examine your privilege and all that.
And if you are, then please ignore that previous paragraph. Also, share your secrets!
But somehow I highly doubt those .98 kernels had a screen reader built in.
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)?
@strypey @devinprater assuming people posting about being frustrated to the point of giving up are 1) asking for perfection rather than basic usability, 2) wanting it for nothing, and 3) not willing to put in effort seems like a bad starting point for a fruitful discussion.
I would hope a developer who's passionate about their work would also have enough empathy to accept frustrated, discouraging feedback or rants from someone who can't use their software.
To say the least, I wouldn't try as hard as Devin did (who I personally know tried hard, and I personally witnessed when they tried to give constructive feedback on the topic, which fell on ears with fingers tucked in to them and tied to insensitive, self centered heads).
It's insensitive, disingenuous and malicious to ask people to code up accessibility features when they need accessibility features to learn to code them in the first place, and to ask them to contribute lots of money when they are invariably the most economically disadvantaged in every community they exist.
It's also disingenuous to say all FOSS devs are writing FOSS in their free times when many are on the payroll of biggest FOSS companies like Red Hat, Canonical, and SuSE, etc.
I had the chance to open my eyes ten minutes later. But people can't un-blind themselves or grow fingers if they try hard enough.
> It's insensitive, disingenuous and malicious to ask people to code up accessibility features
I agree. But there are many things kinds of effort that produce software. Opening issues and giving detailed feedback on why it's inaccessible, and what would be better, is both a reasonable expectation and the most likely way to achieve the desired result.
Thank you, @alcinnz !
@strypey If you cared to read the threads, people are literally complaining that their non-code contributions are not only ignored, but met with refusal and hostility.
You wouldn't even need to look too far, I tell you this is the case literally in the previous paragraph.
1) Perfecting software includes fully addressing usability. This takes skilled effort which needs to come from either paid devs or motivated volunteers.
2/3) Calling names when asked to offer detailed feedback rather than vague complaints suggests expecting something for nothing. If the feedback has been provided and ignored, I agree that's an issue, let's address that.
BTW I'm not a coder. Just someone who cares about improving the software commons for everyone.
@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.
A fun, happy little Mastodon/Hometown instance. Join us by the fire and have awesome discussions about things, stuff and everything in between! Admins: @Talon and @Mayana.