Creating An Accessibility Specification for Lubuntu 11.10

Jonathan Marsden jmarsden at
Sun May 29 08:02:26 UTC 2011

On 05/27/2011 09:26 AM, Pia wrote:

> ..., but in open source, if you have a very small group represented,
> you have to get your hands dirty first in order to sufficiently
> understand the situation well enough to come up with good system
> specifications and a reasonable roadmap in a reasonable time frame.
> So, what we were doing in discussing details and wanting to actually
> test a few things was just that and what you originally were 
> complaining about.  Assessing the situation would allow us to know
> what we can take from Ubuntu's road map and what has to be adjusted.

How about sharing Ubuntu's current official accessibility roadmap with
the Lubuntu developers, as a start?  I note that

does not seem to me to include a pointer to it, at least not by any name
recognizably similar to "Ubuntu Accessibility Roadmap", which seems an
unfortunate omission.

Point us towards it, please, and tell us how far along each current
Ubuntu variant (Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Server) is in implementing
it, if that is not clear from reading the roadmap itself or related
documents to which it links.

Then, we can perhaps be a part of the process of "assessing the
situation", determining what we can take from Ubuntu's accessibility
roadmap in creating the Lubuntu equivalent of it.  My suspicion is that
LXDE itself could need a fair bit of work to use the GTK accessibility
stuff well enough to be useful -- but that's a total guess, in part
because I've not seen a Ubuntu-oriented definition of "doing
accessibility well enough to be useful" yet.

I suspect that if you and Alan and Phill and Charlie and whoever else
create a roadmap for Lubuntu accessibility separate from the Lubuntu
developers, it may not be well accepted by them when it is finally
presented to them.  Better, surely, to include them (us) in that
process, from the beginning?


will show you that Lubuntu officially currently has exactly two (2)

Both of them have asked, independently and in different ways, on the
lubuntu-desktop list, for some kind of definition of what exactly we are
trying to do to "add accessibility" this cycle.

If wanting some clarity means "not getting it", then I'd say you are
100% correct, by that definition I "don't get it" yet!

As for specifications and clear definitions etc. being overly formal and
so unacceptable to you, blueprints and UDS discussion and refinement
thereof are a standard and expected part of every Ubuntu development
cycle, for every Ubuntu variant, as I hope you are aware.  Lubuntu is
not an exception in this regard.  Nor is accessibility.  I have not
suggested anything different happen for work on accessibility than
happens for other software development work on Lubuntu.  First, decide
what work will be done; then, do that work.

Trying to locate the Ubuntu Accessibility Roadmap that you seem to
suggest already exists somewhere, I just now did a Google search for

  ubuntu accessibility roadmap

and found no clearly definitive document for the Oneiric cycle in the
first couple of pages of hits.  Can you provide pointers to the
documentation I have missed?

>From this search, I did find my way to:

which suggests that perhaps this kind of info is not in fact yet
available, but is perhaps being worked on this cycle, since many parts
of that spec say "postponed" -- presumably postponed until Oneiric?

If so, my proposal that we wait one cycle (note: not indefinitely, one
development cycle!) before commencing Lubuntu accessibility development
work fits it rather well, doesn't it -- once the spec linked above is
fully completed, Lubuntu will (I would think) then have easier access to
the baseline documentation and information needed to make good decisions
about what to implement to improve its accessibility in the 12.04 cycle.

I also found

which says these are "potential goals"; so not really a clearly defined
roadmap, at this stage, then.

Then I found

which has links to some specs dating back to Feisty (!), and specs for
Natty that may or may not have actually been implemented (it doesn't
say), and links to docs that it says "must be updated".  No clarity on
Oneiric accessibility status or a roadmap there.  Last edit was around 7
months ago -- a whole development cycle ago.

Maybe "everyone" knows where the current official and widely accepted
Ubuntu Accessibility Roadmap really is, but Julien and I currently do
not, or we would not be asking for a clear statement of what "adding
accessibility" is going to take, for Lubuntu.  Please work with us to
create such a definition, since it apparently does not yet exist.  Or,
point us directly to it, if it does already exist.

I remain convinced that what I proposed most likely represents a more
appropriate and realistic timeframe for accomplishing this work than
trying to do it in Oneiric in the absence of any specification.  That
viewpoint is based on personal experience spanning over a
quarter-century of full time programming, system and network administration.

If you and your team can demonstrate that useful work on Lubuntu
accessibility can in fact be added in Oneiric, great -- show us the
specs for that work, and the people who will implement it!  After all,
this whole thread was triggered by Phill W. asking for developer help,
so (at least to the uninitiated!) suggesting or even implying that the
accessibility team already has clear outline specs, ready for those
developers who respond to Phill's request to begin working from.

Your latest response, that in fact the accessibility team still needs
time to conduct informal experiments before coming up with an outline
Lubuntu accessibility spec, to my mind only serves to further bolster my
earlier stated position that the real implementation of this work could
and probably should be postponed until the 12.04 development cycle.
Doing that gives you/us time to complete those experiments, or "test a
few things", and then create useful specifications based on their
results, which we can then, potentially, develop from.

For everything except installer accessibility, interim experimental
packages related to Lubuntu accessibility work can be made available in
PPAs during the initial test phase, so folks who *really* need it *now*
could have a way to obtain it early.

Not entirely incidentally, is there a list of the currently-needed
Lubuntu-related accessibility experiments or tests somewhere?

I feel as though you are telling me that I should "just know" all kinds
of things about accessibility and how it is defined for (L)ubuntu, and
you seem to suggest that at least one Ubuntu accessibility roadmap
already exists that is plenty good enough already, so I should not be
asking for an Lubuntu-oriented roadmap or spec.  Reality is that I don't
just know those things, so those things need stating, clearly (as in,
written down, online, such as on a wiki page) -- and I can't even find
the official Ubuntu accessibility roadmap yet!


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