Future of accessibility under Ubuntu

Bill Cox waywardgeek at gmail.com
Tue Jun 30 22:01:46 BST 2009

I have to eat a little crow now.  I installed Ubuntu 8.10 x64, and had
most of the same stability problems I found in Ubuntu 9.04 x64.  So,
the problems I've seen are probably somewhat related to the x64
distros, and going back in time to older distros will probably just
make things worse, as 64-bit distros have been improving rapidly.
While I an still see OK, I'm going to try and use recent versions of
x64 Debian and Ubuntu, and I'll try and help track down the bugs.


On Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 11:56 AM, Bill Cox<waywardgeek at gmail.com> wrote:
> I hope my criticism in this e-mail is taken as intended - constructive
> criticism, rather than pointless ranting.  I would like to raise a
> red-flag at Canonical with this post.  Ubuntu 9.04 is a disaster for the
> visually impaired.  Vinux, previously based on Ubuntu, has been forced
> to switch future development to Debian branches.  Until now, Ubuntu has
> had a great reputation for supporting accessibility relative to other
> distros, but 9.04 has trashed that.
> 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.
> At a minimum, if Ubuntu plans on having some releases that are
> accessible (like 8.10), and others that aren't (like 9.04), then
> removing Orca from the unaccessible versions, and posting clear guidance
> for the visually impaired would be a good step.  If Ubuntu wants to own
> the accessibility space for the visually impaired, it's Ubuntu's for the
> taking.  Putting one skilled developer on the issue full time to work
> with vinux (previously Vibuntu), should do it.  Otherwise, I suspect
> that Vinux will wind up owning this space based on Debian.  There's some
> sense to this, as any good work done in Debian eventually gets inherited
> by Ubuntu and several other great distros.  However, making Linux easy
> to use is Ubuntu's primary focus, so it makes sense to base Vinux on
> Ubuntu.  Given the state of 9.04, I intend to help the Vinux guys build
> on Debian, but I will sorely miss Ubuntu.
> I hope this is taken as a call to action.  I don't mean to offend
> anyone.
> Bill

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