Future of accessibility under Ubuntu

Bill Cox waywardgeek at gmail.com
Mon Jun 29 20:40:35 BST 2009

On Mon, 2009-06-29 at 15:13 -0400, Eric S. Johansson wrote:
> Bill Cox wrote:
> > If Canonical cares about support for the visually impaired, then it may
> > be time to mount a significant effort to put out this fire.  On every
> > blog I'm reading, the visually impaired are recommending that users
> > switch away from Ubuntu.  I am currently running Orca and Ubuntu 9.04,
> > and I have to offer that same advice.  It's more than just removing
> > pulseaudio.  I've hacked problems for a week straight, and Orca is still
> > not functioning properly.  There are at least a dozen major problems,
> > and not all of them have work-arounds yet.  Clearly there was zero
> > testing of Orca for 9.04.
> I hope you do not consider me root for pointing out the accessibility doesn't
> stop with the blind. As much as you may be dependent on text-to-speech, I am
> extremely dependent on speech to text (i.e. speech recognition). Naturally
> speaking kind of works under wine and it really needs some dedicated
> effort/money/something to get it to the point where we can dictate into any of
> the next application. I have some ideas on how to bridge that gap but first we
> need a stable NaturallySpeaking.

I agree completely.  In fact, for three years, from 1996 to 1999, I had
to use Dragon Dictate and Naturally Speaking to control Emacs in order
to keep my job as a programmer.  Porting Naturally Speaking would be my
#1 enhancement request if I could get it.  I'm not much of a Wine
hacker, though.

>  current open source speech recognition systems are a waste of time and money.
> They are the wrong tool for the application, says the man with 15 years
> experience using speech recognition.

As a man with three years experience, and being familiar with Sphinx and
such, I have to agree, though some of the open-source efforts are


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