[orca-list] VINUX-SUPPORT: RE: Ubuntu Unity Desktop to go to Mir and QT

Christopher J Chaltain chaltain at gmail.com
Wed Jul 24 03:38:11 UTC 2013

I agree it's unfortunate that Luke is the only one working on Unity 
accessibility, but there is a big difference between Canonical and Apple 
or Google. Apple is the wealthiest company in the world. Google is also 
a large company and is also quite profitable. Apple and Google are 
already well established players in the mobile space. Neither the iPhone 
nor Android were accessible when they were first released. Canonical is 
a tiny company, less than 600 employees, and is still not profitable 
after being around for about eight years or so. It's still trying to 
break into the mobile market.

I'm not defending Canonical here. I too wish that they would invest more 
in accessibility development. I'm just pointing out that circumstances 
right now between Canonical and Apple/Google are quite a bit different. 
I think Canonical focus right now is to just get a viable product out 
into the market place. I'm sure that once that happens and it becomes 
successful, they'll invest more in accessibility, just as Apple and 
Google have. In some ways, this is analogous to Microsoft and Windows 
Phone. MS's priority right now is to become relevant in the mobile 
space. Once that happens then I think accessibility will move up higher 
on their priority queue.

On 07/24/2013 08:41 AM, Alex Midence wrote:
> Hi, Luke,
> Just to be clear, I don't think and have never thought you were part of the
> problem.  What I do think is that it sucks that you are the only one having
> to do all this work.  They really should hire you some help.  There is only
> so much one person can do and a11y is a big job.  Apple has a full on team
> working on Voiceover.  Google has Dr. Raman and his assistant and probably
> others I don't know about working on Android accessibility.  If canonical is
> going to expand into all these other markets, I don't see why they can't
> hire you a couple of assistants to help distribute the workload.  However,
> those decisions are beyond our control.  Speaking for myself, I am
> personally very appreciative of all the work you have put in.
> Best regards,
> Alex M
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Luke Yelavich [mailto:themuso at ubuntu.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 11:05 PM
> To: Alex Midence
> Cc: Christopher Chaltain; vinux-support at googlegroups.com; 'Ubuntu
> Accessibility Mailing List'; orca-list at gnome.org
> Subject: Re: [orca-list] VINUX-SUPPORT: RE: Ubuntu Unity Desktop to go to
> Mir and QT
> On Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 01:33:34PM EST, Alex Midence wrote:
>> Also, for the record, I fully recognize and appreciate all the hard
>> work of the developers of the Ubuntu community who freely give of
>> their time to make things accessible.  However, it was disappointing
>> to finally have gotten a very accessible port of Unity in 12.04 only
>> to be told that we were back to poor a11y in other versions of the
>> distro for at the very least 2 full years.
> For the record, I was disappointed as well. I expressed my desire for Unity
> to stick with using Qt at the time, given the accessibility advantages it
> brought for one, and the fact that it would have made maintaining unity
> easier as the nux GUI toolkit wouldn't also need to be maintained, and Qt is
> well established etc.
> I am the only developer working for Canonical who spends at least some of
> the time working on accessibility issues. I say some of the time, because I
> do have other duties, in fact the primary reason why I was hired was not to
> work exclusively on accessibility, although the powers that be are ok with
> me doing so.
> Having said that, my big focus for the next 10-12 months will almost
> exclusively be getting Qt5, Mir, and Unity as accessible an environment as
> one person can possibly manage. Qt5 helps somewhat, but the specific parts
> of Qt that are being used for the new Unity still have some rough spots when
> it comes to accessibility, and there is also the changing graphics stack and
> everythign that goes with it to deal with.
> Given these changes, and given I am the only person who is likely going to
> be working on all of this, I cannot really promise anything, given the work
> that is required, and given the time and resources, or possibly lack there
> of, available to do so. I do really appreciate that you all want regularly
> updated, accessible distro releases that have the latest accessibility
> crack, but please keep in mind just how many of us in the wider *nix
> accessibility community there are, and also keep in mind how many of us are
> involved with some form of active development in the area, and if you want
> to dig deeper, think about the number of us working on GUI desktop
> accessibility of some kind.
> I try to take the approach of under promising, and at least delivering, and
> if I can over deliver, than thats great.
> In the meantime, there is the Ubuntu GNOME remix, with GNOME shell, wich
> does work quite well these days. I'll do my best to try and fix any issues
> people may notice with that release, given the accessibility tools and
> infrastructure are shared with GNOME and Unity.
> Thanks, and I really appreciate your understanding, and support.
> Luke

Christopher (CJ)
chaltain at Gmail

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