Boosts appreciated.
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.)

@Truck @devinprater A good place to start might be Klaus Knopper's #ADRIANE:

It's part of #Knoppix and can be activated by simply entering the option adriane at startup.

#accessibility #GNU #Linux #FLOSS

@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.

@tfb @Matt_Noyes I don't really dismiss it, but it's not very popular, thus doesn't get much love, compared to Gnome and KDE.

@Matt_Noyes Oh and Arch has an accessibility mode too, press down arrow then enter during ,oot.

@devinprater @Matt_Noyes I think using Arch Linux, a rolling release distro, and expecting accessibility bugs or even bugs in general to not happen is incompatible. I think GNU/Linux distributions with a stabilization process and more time and people to test for numerous use cases is better here.

@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.

@lig @devinprater
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.

@fabiscafe @devinprater And, yeah, I don't agree with almost every your statement in this post. Sorry.

@fabiscafe @lig @devinprater Well, as someone who's seen the closed source things...

I believe you are saying "we can't ever have anything."

And that would be what is called "Defeatism."

Which is a road to disillusionment and sadness.

Best to avoid that, it doesn't end pretty.

@schlink @devinprater sorry to hear that, I have to admit as a developer I pay little attention to Section 508. I hope more open source developers hear your issue and address it. Does KDE not work for you?

@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 @devinprater
In some way you are right. A lot of #foss (mine included) is crappy. Time is limited.
But #mswindows? I am forced to use it at work. And seriously. It is even more unfriendly. Nothing is compatible. The architecture is often not visible. It is a software dictated by business people who make it just good enough that people don't take the hassle of moving away.
There I prefer #foss, as the people designing it at least have similar thinking patterns as I.

@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...

Don't understand why you're having all these problems. I've been running Linux literally since the .98 kernels, don't miss reloading Windows when it got so polluted with Malware I couldn't clean it up.

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 @devinprater In my experience, when I mention a11y to people they tend to brush it off, say things along the lines of "who cares lol", etc. It really sucks.

@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)?

Of course they would. They are often required to account for accessibility by legal regulations AND they have to compete with other non FOSS solutions.

@devinprater @strypey tbh android-x86 with taskbar and termux probably wouldn't be an awful setup.

@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.

That does sound irritating. I presume you have reported this to the TalkBack and Termux developers and been ignored? If so, I agree that's not good enough. Can you link to the issues you filed?


KDE is actually not as user-friendly as most, you could pick a random one and it would be better from a UX perspective.

We wouldn't blame you, for getting frustrated at GNOME either. We've tried contributing to them but they behave like #astroturf, tbh.

@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.

@devinprater I feel accessibility is the least taught, least studied, least documented, least planned, and thus least applied aspect in general, which is a total shame.

@tagomago I mean, I don’t get it. Do FOSS devs not look at Apple, Microsoft and others, and go "oh hey, they’re doing that a11y thing, let’s look into that so our stuff can be used by lots more people."? But I’m barely a developer so there's probably tons more stuff higher on most devs’ list than that.

@devinprater @tagomago What GNU/Linux distribution did you try? From an Internet search I found some FOSS developer community that specially cares about accessibility, maybe that's what you need?
Let me know!

@lle_bout @tagomago Oh yeah, that thing. I think that's based on Debian? There's also, but I've been a Patron of theirs for a while, still, ugh like look at Gnome 40. The DE that Ubuntu, Fedora, and countless other distros come with. Like, I spent 10 minutes trapped in the top panel, tried all the keyboard commands for moving to something else, and none of them worked. Like, that was the tipping point. That this "modern", futuristic DE is so inaccessible, that just really showed me that Linux wasn't going to work. Because Gnome has the resources, the money, all that. They just, don't care.

@devinprater @tagomago I don't think you can expect all software to be accessible. I don't think GNOME, KDE, .. doesnt care, it's a complex problem with complex solutions. I don't think it's true that "GNOME has the money". It's great we could find some FOSS communities that care about accessibility, I think you can direct your problems to those communities and they will happily try to help!

@lle_bout @tagomago Did I say that I expect all software... well maybe I did shoot. I don't think you can understand just how frustrating it is to try to use the top desktop environment, only to find that it spits in your face and the developers don't regard you as a person valuable, or your minority valuable enough, to make even the shell accessible enough for use. I just, couldn't do it anymore. I mean, I want to freaking use my computer, and whoever (Linux, Windows, other (BSD)) provides that, I'm on it now. I have no more patience for great ideals that work for the 99%. I wish I could see. I really do. I'd probably be building computers and working for some good computer repair shop by now. Using Linux, playing Linux games, all that. But I can't. It sucks, it really does. But maybe this is a good thing, to highlight that FOSS devs don't have any accountability, and that a whole OS made of hobbies will likely never be good for any group of minorities. And that's sad.

@devinprater @tagomago I also have lots of frustration using Free Software, things don't always work. I think it is not constructive to complain like you do, there are other ways to say it. I think we cannot expect Free Software to always work, that's why there's no warranty. I think it is more constructive if you can describe the problems precisely to the relevant projects like GNOME and they will happily fix it. They do care, they just can't do everything.

@devinprater @tagomago You imply "nobody" cares in FOSS about accessibility, I don't think that's true, many people care, many people don't know also, but a sizeable amount of people do care, I think the concerns you have can be directed to the people who care like GNU/Linux distributions focused on accessibility. There's accessibility teams within GNOME, Debian, .. also. Bugs like what you said about gnome-shell do happen, but please report them to GNOME.

@devinprater @tagomago About whether all software should be accessible, I mean that for example you insist on GNOME but if GNOME isnt accessible then this isnt all of FOSS, there's lots of other DEs that may care more accessibility, I think it's better to go and use those. That's what I meant.

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