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Mental dilemma, Linux, Accessibility, Software development, stream of consciousness ramble... something like that? 

I've been thinking about this quite a bit recently. On the one hand, yes, I'd love it if I could just switch to Linux. But the accessibility story hasn't been very pleasant. Everytime I bring this up, I keep wondering if I'm supposed to do anything about it. But deep down I know it wouldn't be fun. I know practically nothing about how the Linux accessibility stack works, and when I think about figuring it all out, I find myself losing interest. Which is strange since I absolutely need accessibility to use the OS.
But like... I don't know... it just doesn't seem like fun to me. It's not exactly what I want to do with my free time. I have other things I care about. And I can do those things. Not on Linux maybe, but there are operating systems that work well. Do I like the dubious privacy practices of the other operating systems? No. Not at all. Would I switch if I could? Yes. Absolutely. But is it wrong for me not to want to invest time into fixing this? Especially when I have other things that I can already do that I personally feel like I want to actually invest time into?
Does this make me a hypocrite? Should I even complain if I, in theory, could potentially have the ability to fix the problem with tons of personal investment and struggle, but I choose not to because I would rather do things that I find more enjoyable?
I'm not really expecting an answer I guess. This is definitely a thing that will vary from person to person. But whenever I talk about Linux and accessibility, these thoughts come up. And I always end up uncertain if I'm doing the right thing.

Mental dilemma, Linux, Accessibility, Software development, stream of consciousness ramble... something like that? 

I feel like I should also point out that I'm by no means a Linux accessibility expert. I might get things wrong. And if I do, please do correct me. My experience comes from trying to use it as a daily driver a couple times over the past few years, and I will continue trying every time I see a new development.

re: Mental dilemma, Linux, Accessibility, Software development, stream of consciousness ramble... something like that? 

@talon as someone who tried reading information about the accessibility systems on linux (at-spi, atk) and read trough git discussions... your disinterest if very, very valid

there is almost no practical documentation about it, most of it is "use gtk (or qt if you're a weirdo) and it will automagically work with orca" with very little in the way of actually talking about how it works, how to implement interacting with it, best practices or anything

with for what I've seen any person that proposes more work on theses systems ends up in best case scenario working by themselves on something that will never be properly maintained ("last updated 10 years ago" or content outright missing situations) going off almost non-existent resources

there is "be the change you want to see in the world", and then there is "you must single-handedly build a house all for yourself out of half missing plans and rusty tools"

Mental dilemma, Linux, Accessibility, Software development, stream of consciousness ramble... something like that? 

@talon I think there is more than one aspect to this.

First and foremost, as much as it pains me to say this, Linux accessibility is a mess. Yes, I know that not many people work on it, yes, I know that it's mostly voluntary work, but at the same time, it's a bit ridiculous that everything else can get financial support but accessibility.

Second, the older we get, the more precious time becomes. In this regard, most people just want to use something that works and focus on what matters. This is why lots of people use iOS over Android, Windows over Linux, etc. Because there are alternatives and most of the time we can choose between them. I'm generalizing, of course, but if you look at things this way, it's not really surprising, nor it feels like it's a bad thing.

Mental dilemma, Linux, Accessibility, Software development, stream of consciousness ramble... something like that? 

@talon That's a difficult question. Some distributions take care of accessibility but not all. I've bought some voices because espeak voices are just crappy. I see that some frameworks do accessibility in the core. I can't recommend to switch or not. Some parts progress and some regress. And accessibility is not ready for the transition from Xorg to Wayland.

Mental dilemma, Linux, Accessibility, Software development, stream of consciousness ramble... something like that? 

@kujiu I believe that there are some more fundamental problems with a lot of the underlying accessibility services and systems like ATSPI, etc. that need to be addressed first. That, and I also think that this is not only a software problem, but also a mindset problem. You have many different graphical environments that all need to implement this separately, and they all either do or don't do this to varying degrees. Then you have lots of different UI frameworks, QT, GTK, and probably a lot more that also have to play nice. So the fact that there's not just one area to focus on here probably doesn't help.
There are a lot of new UI toolkits coming out that I see people are very interested in, but they draw stuff directly to the screen and don't use any kind of accessibility at all. There are projects that want to make integration with native accessibility services easier for UI toolkit implementors, but they're not complete yet. So we shall see. I'm pretty sure that eventually this will be fixed.
I also don't want to undermine the work that's already happening. There are a few people actually trying, and it's not completely hopeless. But if I compare what's currently possible on Linux with the screen readers on other platforms there's sadly just no question which one I'd choose for productivity. But I'm very hopeful!

re: Mental dilemma, Linux, Accessibility, Software development, stream of consciousness ramble... something like that? 

@talon “Bad” is not defined by “the absence of good”. You’re okay. It’s good to work on these things but it is absolutely not an expectation, and there’s nothing wrong with doing other things while still appreciating the value of what could be. :blobfoxheart:

Celebrating something and expecting something are not the same thing. I celebrate efforts to improve the Linux accessibility stack because those efforts go beyond expectations. I wish I didn’t have to celebrate it when someone makes a piece of software for general use that is also very accessible, because that should be an expectation.

re: Mental dilemma, Linux, Accessibility, Software development, stream of consciousness ramble... something like that? 

@Seirdy That's fair. I also think that there are people that are much more competent at this than I would be, and my expertise just lies somewhere else. I would love to help of course, but my interests differ slightly. I love working with audio. Things like sonification. Devising custom interfaces for particular apps. And in my free time I mostly apply this to games, since gaming is a very big part of my life. And I'll definitely help people make their apps accessible, and make accessible apps myself. But I just don't have the drive to apply myself completely in the little free time I do have to fixing the entire accessibility stack for a system where you have different desktops, window managers, etc etc. So I guess I have much more interest in working one level above what's actually needed right now to make the entire system work. But once that system does work, and I do believe it will eventually, I'll be right there.

@talon this is an interesting question that comes up from time to time, in a lot of contexts. Lack of access tools, lack of hardware support, etc are all perfectly valid reasons not to use a tool; and that's exactly what an operating system is, a tool. It would be nice if we had a tool that was both accessible and non-abusive, that was both widely supported by hardware manufacturers and not a platform for consumer exploitation, but we don't, so unfortunately folks have to pick.

@tindall I suppose my thoughts were along the lines of, "I can code. I could potentially contribute code to the problem. But I have no idea where to start, and I'm not particularly motivated to do this at the low level currently necessary.". That's what I'm struggling with.
That, and I love creative work. Music, games, etc. At least in my off time. And I personally get much more enjoyment out of those than hacking on some super tangled accessibility API. So whenever this topic comes up I think I should help. But it wouldn't be as fulfilling as the things I'd otherwise do. But if everyone thinks like I do, nothing will ever get done. But I also just don't want to do it. And I feel bad. And it just kinda spirals like that for a while.

@talon the solution isn't for random people to hack on it until it's fixed; the solution is for GNOME and Red Hat and others to pay someone full time to fix it. imo anyway

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