Status of IBM a11y

Peter Parente parente at
Fri Jun 1 19:04:33 BST 2007

Hello all,

Yesterday, IBM decided to change strategies with respect to GNOME accessibility:

Under this new plan, IBM is no longer supporting development of LSR,
Accerciser, pyatspi, AT-SPI::Collection, or Firefox/AT-SPI
accessibility. These projects will not vanish, but the news does have
an impact on each.

== Accerciser

Eitan Isaacson is busy preparing Accerciser for inclusion in GNOME
2.20 under a grant from the Mozilla Foundation. Its development and
documentation is far enough along that it should only require minimal
future maintenance (i.e. bug fixes, updates to stay in sync with
at-spi). As far as I know, Eitan plans to stay on as maintainer of
Accerciser after the grant concludes. Even if Eitan does decide to
leave, someone from the accessibility or automated testing communities
could step up and take ownership over the code.

== pyatspi

The Python bindings for AT-SPI are complete enough to power Accerciser
today. Dogtail and LDTP are busy adopting them as well. Orca, as I
understand it, plans to adopt them sometime in the GNOME 2.20 or 2.22
time frame. I will do my best to support pyatspi as problems arise
until another member of the GNOME community is expert enough to own
the binding. Since pyatspi is in the at-spi module, Li Yuan remains as
the proper maintainer.

== LSR

Development on LSR as a screen reader for GNOME will cease. We will
make one last release of LSR 0.5.3 on Monday in line with GNOME
2.19.3. After that, the project will go dormant until various groups
decide whether the LSR core will be used to drive other open source AT
projects or if it will be abandoned altogether.  Over the next few
weeks, I will be updating and writing documentation in case the LSR
core goes on to live in other projects. I will also reorganize the LSR
wiki to de-emphasize the screen reader user content, and put the focus
more on developer documentation. Contact me directly if you wish to
discuss LSR.

== Firefox and the Mozilla platform

Aaron Leventhal will remain the maintainer of accessibility for the
Mozilla core. His priorities will now be: 1) ARIA support -- Windows
and Linux , 2) Firefox 3 accessibility regressions, 3) IAccessible2
and cross-platform issues

Aaron will not be focusing on Linux accessibility support in the
Firefox 3 timeframe unless it affects all platforms, API harmonization
or ARIA support. The ATK/AT-SPI-specific support of XUL and HTML must
now be via the existing community and module peers. Aaron will
continue to be available to review bug fixes in those areas. Contact
Aaron directly for details.

== AT-SPI Collection
Ariel Rios has (or will) post his outstanding work on implementing the
AT-SPI Collection interface. I'm not sure of his immediate plans, but
he has expressed an interest in completing the work on his personal
time. Contact Ariel directly for details. Documentation about
Collection can be found at


Personally, I am still extremely interested in accessibility and the
GNOME desktop. The IBM decision means that I will no longer contribute
to GNOME through my daily work, but I certainly plan to make
contributions to GNOME as a hobbyist. In addition, I will gladly help
anyone who wishes to develop or reuse any of the projects I worked on
for the past two years. Feel free to contact me about them at any

Finally, I want to wish all the other accessibility developers on
GNOME the best of luck. Keep fighting the good fight of making free
software accessible to all those who want it.

Best regards,
Peter Parente

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