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GNOME 3.4 accessible: Status, news, future (FOSDEM 2012)
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GNOME 3.4 accessible: Status, news, future (FOSDEM 2012)

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By Alejandro Piñeiro Iglesias. …

By Alejandro Piñeiro Iglesias.

In GNOME, accessibility is a core value that touches all aspects of the system. [1]

From the infrastructure, to the graphical toolkit, to the applications, to the assistive technologies, accessibility has been a central consideration from the very early days.

On April 2011 GNOME 3.0 was released, and although GNOME and the accessibility made a huge effort, the accessibility support was not ideal. But not are bad news. Finally the accessibility technologies are starting to be used from the two main free desktops. AT-SPI is starting to be used on KDE distros, and Orca is starting to be functional with Qt apps. Since GNOME 3.0 a big effort was done in order to improve the situation. At the moment of this proposal writing an ATK/AT-SPI2 hackfest is being organized, in order to fix the issues from the framework itself.

The purpose of this presentation is explaining:
* Introduce accessibility on GNOME.
* Briefly explain the status towards GNOME 3.4
* Summarize the output of the ATK/AT-SPI2 hackfest
* Compare GNOME 3.0 vs GNOME 3.4
* KDE status and cooperation
* Future

[1] http://library.gnome.org/devel/accessibility-devel-guide/nightly/gad-how-it-works.html.en

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  • 1. GNOME 3.4 accessible: Status, news, future Alejandro Piñeiro (apinheiro@igalia.com)
  • 2. Hey guy, this room is called CrossDesktop Devroom, you know?
  • 3. Let's try it again ...
  • 4. CrossDesktop accessibility: GNOME and others Alejandro Piñeiro (apinheiro@igalia.com)
  • 5. Introduction, terms and stuff
  • 6. Accessibility? ● Means remove barriers to access ● Related to universal design ● We want a product usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone
  • 7. Examples please ● Visual-only user interfaces ● Fixed display sizes or styles ● Audio or Video-only prompts ● Dependance on mouse, multi-key gestures
  • 8. What can we do? ● Programs require to provide: ● Programmatic access ● Keyboard navigation ● Themes ● Etc.
  • 9. Accessibility? Why? ● It increases your user base ● It helps you address accessibility guidelines ● It's the right thing to do
  • 10. The long road to crossdesktop (Some history)
  • 11. At the Dawn of Time ● 16 Oct 2000, “GNOME Accessibility Summit” ● ● ● Sun, IBM and others joined the party Accessibility had a really big push A lot of new stuff 2000-2005 ● ATK, AT-SPI, Gail, Gnopernicus, LSR
  • 12. That old GNOME 2.0
  • 13. So, why just GNOME? ● Well, Sun had enough with GNOME ● KDE people were also interested but … ● AT-SPI was based on CORBA ● ● At that time CORBA/Bonobo were “stars” technologies at GNOME KDE didn't like too much CORBA ...
  • 14. … in fact ● Seems that nobody liked CORBA/Bonobo ● GNOME decided to deprecate it on 2007 ● Accessibility community worried ● Mail from Ariel Rios, May 2007 ● ● http://mail.gnome.org/archives/release-team/2007-May/msg00030.html Boston Summit 2007
  • 15. DBUS is coming ● DBUS is the new and shiny IPC ● But this port is not something trivial ● That would require a good amount of resources ● Resources, now that you mention that word ...
  • 16. Bad times ● 1 Jun 2007, IBM “change strategies” ● ● LSR dies (Orca survives) 27 Jan 2010, Sun is acquired by Oracle ● Sun decreasing workforce is mostly removed ● Willie Walker stops to be a11y leader and Orca co-maintainer ● Orca survives as a community-driven project
  • 17. There are still some hope... ● Codethink starts AT-SPI2, funded initially by Nokia ● Developer: Mark Doffman ● http://blog.floopily.org/2008/04/23/codethink-d-bus-based-accessibility/ ● Then other contributions from Novell or OpenSuse ● Right now is mostly volunteer-driven ● AT-SPI2 not “functional enough” until 2010
  • 18. The past is boring! What happens now?
  • 19. GNOME 3.X
  • 20. GNOME 3.0 ● GNOME 3.0 was a challenge ● ● New toolkits like Clutter ● Major updates on old toolkits, Gtk3 ● New Desktops: GNOME Shell, Unity ● Gsettings VS Gconf ● ● New AT-SPI2 (major component) etc CSUN 2010 Accessibility Summit
  • 21. GNOME 3.2 ● Stabilization of the resulting 3.0 stack ● ● ● Now with a real environment Working on the functional regressions Some new features ● ● ● GNOME Shell on-screen-keyboard Built-in magnifier ATK-AT/SPI2 hackfest 2011
  • 22. KDE
  • 23. AT-SPI2 is DBUS based ● So, KDE became accessible ? ● No: qt-bridge required a lot of work ● Frederik Gladhorn retake the work on Qt and the bridge on 2011 ● http://labs.qt.nokia.com/2011/04/01/not-yet-accessible/ ● http://labs.qt.nokia.com/2011/08/23/accessibility-on-linux/
  • 24. Is something working? ● Right now things start to works ● People started to poulish apps, like Kate or Unity 2D ● Still not fully functional, but almost
  • 25. We love Accessible Tools! ● GNOME has Orca, lets start Korka! ● Eeemmm, … why? ● KDE people are testing all the stuff with Orca ● Remember: cross-desktop! Reuse stuff!! ● Note: probably Orca would require some kind of Qt GUI
  • 26. XFCE
  • 27. Status ● Thanks to be GTK+ based, XFCE is largely accessible ● The tricky part is getting accessibility enabled ● Current accessibility stack is really GNOME-alike ● They included accessibility on his roadmap ● http://wiki.xfce.org/releng/4.10/roadmap/accessibility
  • 28. So, what we have here? ● Most big distros includes GNOME, KDE and XFCE ● Users will soon be able to get three accessible(ish) desktop environment ● This would mean more testing and feedback ● Still some work required on how enable accessibility
  • 29. Future
  • 30. GNOME 3.4 ● Like 3.2: working on stabilization and performance ● New features: ● ● ● Zoom dialog Brightness and Contrast functionality More ATK support for GNOME Shell
  • 31. ATK/AT-SPI2 Hackfest
  • 32. ATK/AT-SPI2 Hackfest ● People from GTK, ATK, AT-SPI2, Mozilla, WebkitGTK, Qt ● Conclusions: ● Still a lot of work to do ● Not a lot of people ● Still a lot of questions without answer ● Stop to use the bridge as a module/plugin => 3.6
  • 33. A summary?
  • 34. Current status ● We have an accessibility framework ● We already have users ● But: Not enough ATs or people ● ● Bus factor of one in several cases What we need: improve the base, more ATs, more people
  • 35. Questions?