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

Alex Midence alex.midence at gmail.com
Wed Jul 24 20:30:05 UTC 2013

I hadn't heard that one.  I don't know how someone would have had a case
against Apple since there was a largely accessible alternative in the form
of Windows or Windows Mobile.  All through my years growing up, Apple and
inaccessible were more or less synonymous.  I remember how pleasantly
surprised I was to learn that Apple had done such a fine job with Voiceover.
I heard that the ones that got sued were Microsoft for beefing up Narrator
and that it was a screen reader company that did it on the grounds of them
pulling an internet explorer vs netscape type thing but with screen readers
this time. I don't know if either of these is true though, so, don't quote

Alex M

-----Original Message-----
From: orca-list [mailto:orca-list-bounces at gnome.org] On Behalf Of Al
Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 11:57 AM
To: Christopher J Chaltain
Cc: 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

It strikes me that, from the perspective you're describing, a "viable
product" apparently does not include accessibility as a matter of course.
(I'm not saying that's your own view, but only that this is the view you
describe--all too well and concisely.) Until our access needs are deemed
equal to the access needs of those who use the standard monitor and other
tools, the attitude in the business will be wrong.

Tell me if I'm mistaken, but I think I heard recently that Apple's recent
foray into accessibility resulted from a law suit.  (I say "recent foray"
because there was a period during the 1980s when it provided some speech
output at least.) Does anybody know for sure whether this is right or wrong?


On 07/23/2013 11:38 PM, Christopher J Chaltain wrote:
> 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
> 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
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