Thread: About Windows 11's high system requirements. You know, a lot of blind people, who don't have jobs, live on social security and disability money, and who definitely don't have the newest computers, won't get Windows 11. This could have been a great chance for Linux to step up and say loud and proud "Because we support every person's ability to choose their system, and use and learn about computers, we will never force upon users what system they must run. And because we stand proudly with people with disabilities, all blind people are welcome in the world of free and open source software, where they can learn and create just like everyone else."

But no. Gnome, one of the most popular desktops on Linux, is trash with accessibility. KDE is working on it, but that'll take years. Who's ever heard of Mate? And who makes current software for the command line, for users and not other developers?

So now, blind users who cannot upgrade to Windows 11 will probably either stick with Windows 10 indefinitely, save up for a Mac since that'll at least be supported for 7 or so years lol, or buy a new PC for Windows 11. Meanwhile, that laptop from 2015 or so just sits there or gets thrown away or sold. Too bad, right? A perfectly good computer. Ah well. I'll just have to wait until current developers are in their 60's or so, when they start having to lean a little too close to the monitor to see the code, for accessibility in Linux to actually be taken seriously. Because otherwise, they just don't care. And time after time, (Windows XP to Vista to 7 to 8 to 10 to 11), they've had chances to grab a very loyal and somewhat technically-minded user base that could have turned into great coders.

I mean, we've got a lot of great programmers who are blind. On Windows. Yeah some may try Linux, and a few may stick with it *despite* its accessibility bullcrap. But most are on Windows. Two of them have recently created [this Twitter client](masonasons.me/pages/quinter.ph) in Python, I believe. Look at this. Imagine all these programmers, helping out with Linux. But they don't. Why? Because Linux folks don't give a crap about us. So yeah, we stick with the giant evil corpse that, oh my gosh, actually has enough accessibility to where we can be somewhat productive. When you use Linux, be thankful that you have working eyes to see that beautiful KDE interface, or that animation that let's you know that your code has built successfully, or that QT program that Orca will never work with.

Also, it's not enough that Gnome is trash, or KDE is slowly trying, or the command line is mainly for developers. When a user installs Linux and needs assistive technology, like Orca, they can't just enable it and go on their way. They have to check a box in settings to "enable" assistive technologies. That's a huge barrier, and shouldn't exist. But it does. Another roadblock. Why do these exist in a supposed welcoming community? Why do these exist if Linux is open to all? Why? If FOSS is communal, why are blind people, due to the huge barrier of entry, shut out of the FOSS OS? These are hard questions we should be working through. Why does the GUI require assistive technology support to be enabled in order for Orca to work with many apps? Why can't it be enabled by default? Does it slow stuff down? If so, why? And should we have to live with a slower OS because we're blind?

@devinprater You make _very_ good points! It's very important to consider these types of things!

@devinprater
yes. for almost 2 decades free software development has been lagging in accessibility options. i subconsciously assumed physically challenged people do not use computers, mainly because the majority of options now focus on eye candy or keeping sync with windows application behaviors and looks.

free software braille, screenreader and io preipheral options have to break that mold. will it take the actual challenged to do it?

@carl
knoppix is one of those score old things that made great decisions from the getgo
@devinprater

@nergal @devinprater I find android phones unreadable on their tiny screens. You can pinch-zoom, but it doesn't scroll sideways so most of what your trying to see becomes lost. Accent colors and reduction in text contrast that seems to be the rage of ui guys now only makes things even worse.

@tychosoft
Setting "Display size" to "Largest" and "Font size" to "Large" helps for me on a Pixel XL (5.5-inch screen, if I recall correctly) running LineageOS 17.1 (based on Android 10), but there are still websites (like https://packages.debian.org/search?keywords=orca ) that don't resize and wrap nicely on small screens.
@nergal @devinprater

@devinprater
for instance, the most affective project i have seen in recent times is https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dasher_(software). the rest? i am unsure the challenged even use them. the main developer of dasher is dead and the urge to work on dasher died with him.

the challenged may have to step up in force to get things going again.

think even enlightenment had been seeking assistance in accessibility coding for years. #enlightenment is a low staffed outfit that make a lean environment. how many people use it?

@devinprater i really can't wait for developers to grow up…

@devinprater
to plug (i am not a dev), there are tools for gemini that allow content to be piped. such as #gmni

@devinprater This post makes me want to check out Elementary OS again to see what they have implemented for the blind. They seem to tout lots of accessibility options so I may need disappointed if I don’t find anything.

@devinprater
...it's the duct-tapers' loop.
David Graeber wrote about it...hold on, sorry, HI! I'm deeply concerned about the development of accessibility technologies, and their implementation in Free and Open Source Softwares.

I took away that Gnome (3? the newest Gnome ?) , KDE...wait...did you ask who's even heard of Mate ? *(all the people who refuse to use Gnome 3...) um..

So yeah, those windows people go home and night, and to sleep, make code commits to FOSS projects. 1&theSAME.(1/2

@abbaxi It may just be me, but ... your reply is a little hard to understand. The part about Microsoft developers coming home and hacking on FOSS gives Linux an even worse name, since that would pretty much mean that Linux is wherethey go when they don't want to have to worry about supporting accessibility and such. And yeah, from what I've read, it seems like most Linux folks haven't heard of Mate. At least, when a list of desktops are given in articles and such, Mate is rarely, if even, mentioned.

@devinprater

Ok.. Linux is a different group than Mate. Mate is a different group than Gnome. KDE is a different group.. an actual group of people with different development aims, than Linux. The kernel is not the userland, and you use the same name, as though there's "one group of people" doing this. There ARE one groups of people making windows. There ARE one group of people making Apple stuff. There are THOUSANDS of unconnected groups working on the FOSS ecosystem. Apples and Apple seeds.

@abbaxi Oh, I see what you mean. Okay, when I refer to Linux, I mean userland. Desktop environments, programs, all that. I'll rarely be referring to the kernel.

@devinprater
sent you a DM :) hey, please, if you know any collection of accessibility issues for any of those userland projects, I'd be happy to troll their project home-pages, and see if the developers can work on those issues you bring up. Would give me a much needed break from arguing with racists online. :)

@abbaxi I'll definitely gather some and sendthem to you. I suspect that Gnome40 doesn't have many yet, but KDE seems a lot more promising ofa DE, maybe they keep track of them. And I've been asked to write a document that should unify UI expectations and rules for how a blind person would use a GUI. I'm definitely not an expert on UI design, but I’ll do my best if it helps FOSS

@devinprater
thanks :D I would love to help get these userland projects to develop in the right direction.

@abbaxi I would too. It's just really hard when there's just like a few of us, and the few other blind Arch Linux users are just... They isolate themselves into anIRC server and have given up trying to get userland developers to listen.

@devinprater :D I DO NOT GIVE UP :D

also, BSD developers might be more amenable to listening.

BSD is designed. Linux is grown.
https://www.over-yonder.net/~fullermd/rants/bsd4linux/01

@devinprater
can you send me the link for the blind arch linux users IRC ?

@abbaxi Oh it's not just for Arch users, I just mean most blind Linux folks use Arch. It's at irc.linux-a11y.org

@devinprater

I'm hugely interested in working on a blind-accessible FOSS desktop for my own slightly-odd reason that I'd like to brainstorm things while walking without looking at my phone.

the awful thing is.
I could totally be put to work fixing accessibility by listening to real disabled people.
but I can't because I don't have an income and everybody who can help me search for jobs is oriented at the wasteful process of applying to tons of random jobs and 'climbing the ladder'.

1/

@devinprater

I waste all my time on these appointments, job applications, trainings, temporary jobs, etc,
(not to mention therapy because none of this ever feels worth it),
then I go home and waste more time on random hobby projects because I need a personally fulfilling goal to have anything to feel good about.

I don't really want to spend my time this way.

all it takes to tear me away from personal things to socially useful things is a living income.

2/

@devinprater

but it's not simply nobody giving a shit about accessibility,
it's nobody creating a place in society for all the programmers who would literally go fix it.

thus you find me rambling a lot about socialism and the idea of "better jobs".

3/

@devinprater

things like comradery.co look promising as a structure where new jobs could be created based on a real need and sort of assemble themselves together into bigger teams as appropriate

but that's not quite here yet.

4/

@devinprater

doesn't it strike anyone as weird that we're all bike-shedding about how somebody "could" fix problems "someday" instead of reporting directly over to an organisation that helps everyone coordinate with each other on how to make it actually happen?

5/5

saying "disabled people could go fix it" accomplishes just as little as saying "GNOME could go fix it".

who will actually fix the problem and when? who's fixing the things that prevent people from fixing it? who's fixing the things behind those?

@Valenoern What organization would that be? The GNU? FSF? Gnu's accessibility statement is like from 2005, so I get the sense that they don't care much about that.

@devinprater @Valenoern GNOME has not been part of GNU for many years.

@Valenoern @devinprater I simply wanted to clarify the actual history, since I did not think it was known, and I saw at least some of it happen first hand.

@Valenoern So, Igailia or however you spell it wouldn't hire you? that's the organization that hires the only Orca screen reader developer. Orca is the only GUI (mainly GTK) screen reader for Linux. But there's got to be something we can do.

@Valenoern @devinprater this touches upon what happened happened to the original work on linux for the blind after the AFB's corporate sponsers killed it. As many working on it were themselves blind, that was for many the first and last time they were able to be productive and funded to do something useful. But how dare they interfere with the profit-making needs of private already wealthy American companies like Microsoft...

@devinprater I'm considering making an "are-we-accessible-yet.tld" website, like the ones Mozilla made for various web and Rust related things, but:
-i don't have moniez for another domain name
...that's basically it actually. I should probably do it, unless it already exists.

@devinprater It Depends (TM), and I'm told they trick you with a cheap first year but then each yearly renewal costs way more. So I don't wanna jump head first into buying another domain, but I can host it on a subdomain of blobpat.space.
But most of the work would be to figure out how the site should work.
I was thinking of using a git repo hosted on Sourcehut or something (no Github or main Gitlab, for Reasons.) and people just send a pull request or patch to update it.

@csepp Yeah, nothing wrong with hosting stuff on a subdomain.

@devinprater Yup.

So, for the site, I'm thinking something like:
main page is a list of apps with an accessibility status that answers the question "is X accessible yet?", just a simple yes/unknown/no/etc. And if you click one of them you see the more detailed explanation for the rating, links to open issues, etc.

So really it's just a static site I guess.

With maybe a teensy bit of JS for sorting on the main page?

@devinprater

I hear your frustration, and I agree that we should aspire and focus on accessibility as a first class objective.

Now the question becomes how to do that with a largely volunteer community and without a source of funding that will offset the cost of time/effort.

Are there financial resources to support such efforts, such as government grants?

There should be, and hopefully are, which could be given to appropriate orgs to support the work.

@devinprater I mean it’d help if there were an organized company that made the entire stack and made sure it worked consistently and was supported with funding by the users and/or other funding sources sufficiently to actually produce the things you’re asking for.

@brion I mean, I'd donate like $20 or $30 per month for that.

@devinprater unfortunately it has to be not just you but a bunch of other people. And then there needs to be someone you can give it to in an organized way that makes sure effort is spent on consistent interoperable software that serves all users. There is no central place to send it, there is no coordination, and there is no project management.

@devinprater you can't demand that "Linux" do it because "Linux" is not a cohesive group with any organized management or funding or method of coordinating effort

@brion Yeah, true. When I say Linux, I mean userland stuff, like desktop environments and applications, and UI toolkits. And maybe it's too far gone to save.

@devinprater well it’s fundamentally been limited since the beginning. Limited resources, very little income, multiple groups companies and individuals pulling in different directions.

I just don’t believe what you want can be created without consistent funding and centralized product and project management, and the diverse array of distros and foundations for user land (especially GUI) make basically no income with which to spend on important things that don’t affect everyone.

@devinprater not saying it’s great. Fundamentally it’s awful. But without fixing economics, what’s your solution?

@devinprater FOSS is successful mainly where it’s useful to companies that have a money-making product that uses it, so they can assign developers to the tasks that are important to them.

Unless there’s a company that’s getting funding specifically to work on accessibility throughout the entire stack, it ain’t gonna happen. It’s gonna be a patchwork hell forever.

@devinprater and that sounds like a big problem, because the audience of people who will pay specifically for accessibility features is very small.

Thus you need an economy of scale where the company has enough income to spend disproportionate amounts of money (income-wise) on important things like accessibility that are essential and important to some users, but not to most.

@devinprater If you don’t have that, then no amount of hoping for volunteer patches will solve all the problems.

@devinprater So if you want to see it, you need to at least support companies that are trying to make a serious go of desktop Linux and give them money for their computers or operating systems.

And then you have to hope that they grow, because right now they’re tiny.

@devinprater You simply won’t get what you ask for right now. It doesn’t exist, and it can’t exist without a massive change in how much money is flowing into paying people to buy food and pay rent/mortgage so they can work on this specifically.

@brion True. That's where again I see endeavours like @elementary popping up, and the willingness of the FLOSS community to support these as a benchmark to whether people want to support real long-term sustainable change.
@devinprater

@devinprater @brion

I believe Trisquel still has Orca enabled by default upon installation. I remember when I first installed it I had a big fright from suddenly hearing it without a notice. But then I thought, "Sure, that's what you need to do in order to try and include everyone".

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