In a private E-mail message to me, Tzafrir Cohen raised several questions, which need to be answered. With his permission, I am answering his questions in public.
On Sun, 2006-03-19 at 07:26 -0500, Tzafrir Cohen wrote: > Hi > > I'm afraid your post wasn't quite useful at delivering its message. See > below. > > On Sun, Mar 19, 2006 at 12:28:21PM +0200, Omer Zak wrote: > > http://developers.slashdot.org/developers/06/03/19/0726241.shtml (FOSS > > and Disabled Communities Out of Touch) > > > > http://software.newsforge.com/software/06/03/13/1628249.shtml?tid=150 > > (FOSS community, disabled users must learn to communicate) > > Right. The "ODF is not accessible" claims again. As if that format was > not used for more than a year before its certification process has > begun. As if that format has not gone through a certification process of > a year or two. Where were those comments then? They magically turned out > once MS has threatened not to supoprt it. If Microsoft agreed to support ODF, then switching Masscusetts to ODF would have required no re-training of people with disabilities. It would have required no accelerated development of special software to support their special hardware needs. It would have been possible for people with disabilities to continue working with their MS-Windows computers and with MS-Office. The only change would have been to save their documents in ODF. However, since Microsoft refused to support ODF, it is necessary to retrain people, and to develop and deploy any special software needed by their accessibility hardware. This is a problem, which needs to be solved, not swept under the rug. Since there are not enough FOSS developers in the disability groups themselves to take care of themselves, some money and time need to be budgetted to take care of this problem. Currently, the FOSS and the disability groups are not in contact (with the exception of Hamakor and O. Zak). So they do not know how to work together. Therefore, the disability groups made the mistake of choosing the confrontational route rather than enlisting the help of LUGs in their areas for finding volunteers willing to work on any missing software pieces. The training requirements are not more onerous than the training needed several years ago when switching to MS-DOS to MS-Windows 3.1. > > This E-mail > > message is being BCC'ed also to the managers of such training centers. > > Several months ago I was in contact with them and asked them about FOSS > > related training. They told me that they are doing no such training, > > due to absence of demand for those skills. > > Lack of demand? So all's well and nobody needs them, right? > > What am I missing? This is a chicken-and-egg problem (temporarily neglecting the current avian flu situation). Those vocational rehabilitation and training centers, which train people with disabilities to work with word processors and other software required in modern offices, are now betraying the long-range good of the trainees. But they are not fully conscious of this fact, and they do not get the proper guidance from today's market. Businesses are not telling them that they (the businesses) need secretaries and accountants, who know to use OpenOffice. So they (the vocational rehabilitation and training centers) train people in using MS-Office. This is why I'd like to have Free Software businesses inform those training centers about jobs for people who learned to use Free Software. > > What can we do in Israel to address the difficulties of people with > > disabilities and people from low socioeconomic classes? > > And how is that question related to Hamakor? Hamakor is in the business of furthering the cause of Free Software in Israel. Switching to FOSS is a long-term trend, and we can either be proactive or leave people with special training needs (due to disability or low socioeconomic class) behind. Switching people with special needs to FOSS involves both training and development/adaptation of software to work with assistive equipment. > > 1. Lobby OpenOffice and AbiWord developers to add a no-BiDi setting to > > their software (to support Hebrew+Arabic blind users of word > > processing). > > Hmmm.... disable bidi support? why? This is needed by the way blind people interact with computers. They use text-to-speech and Braille equipment. Both kinds of equipment expect strictly logical order of text. So if text is re-ordered using the BiDi algorithm, this presents a big problem to them. This is an easy modification to make, but would make a big difference to Hebrew and Arabic speaking blind people needing to do word processing in their native languages. See also: http://www.haifux.org/lectures/112/ and http://www.cs.tau.ac.il/telux/advanced.html (lecture 28). Enhancement request in AbiWord bugzilla: http://bugzilla.abisource.com/show_bug.cgi?id=8397 > Is kword any better? I never used it. Can someone please check it? > > 2. Israeli FOSS businesses should be in contact with vocational training > > centers to encourage them to train people to work with FOSS and inform > > them about existence of demand for such a training (for example by > > customers of those FOSS businesses). Please contact me in private if > > you need help in matchmaking. > > What business can those business get there? Is this charity work? If you are a FOSS business developing and deploying a FOSS solution for a big client company of yours, and you know that they'll need to hire 10 office workers who know to work with KDE desktop, why not suggest to the vocational rehabilitation center near the big client company to train some people to work with KDE desktop, and then they'll be employed by the client company. The FOSS business wins because there will be employees able to work with its FOSS-based solution. The vocational rehabilitation center wins because it can quickly find jobs for people with disabilities (a big problem). The client company does not lose, because they are more certain about the quality of the employees (instead of having to interview 100 people from the street, they get 10 people referred to them by the rehabilitation center). [While sometimes, the client company needs to spend some money making the workspace accessible to people with disabilities (ramps, for example), 80% of this cost is borne by Bituach Leumi.] > > 3. Developers of Israeli Linux distributions (such as Ahad) - please > > check not only for seamless Hebrew support but also for seamless blind > > support. > > Any checklist availble? Any contacts? To two blind computer users, who are being BCC'ed on this message: Can you please answer those questions? Basically, it is necessary to enable Braille displays (and/or text to speech systems) very early in the boot process. Also, provide audible cues for anything which requires a decision from the blind computer user. > > 4. Webmasters - follow Shlomi Fish's example, ask about and ensure that > > your Web site is accessible to blind persons. > > Again: How? See at end of this E-mail message. The first thing is to add the appropriate alt text to img tags. > > Avoid putting files of lecture audio recordings without also ensuring > > that a textual transcript is available as well (for deaf people). > > Bah. There aren't so many on-line lectures out there. And now you add > the extra burden for people to provide the (possibly non-existing) text? Yes. This is the same kind of burden imposed upon organizations, which add elevators and ramps to make their buildings accessible to wheelchaired people. The same kind of burden imposed upon taxpayers in socialist countries to ensure that no one dies due to being unable to support himself. The same kind of burden imposed upon payers of insurance premiums so that they'll get money to rehabilitate themselves if they got disabled by an accident. Consider the expectation to add textual transcripts to audio lecture requirements as insurance premium, which will help you (or a family member) get easier rehabilitation if you ever lose your hearing due to any reason. Currently 40% of people aged 80 and above have very poor hearing. > > Design your Web site to be standards-compliant (to support browsers > > adapted to the needs of blind persons). > > The good thing about standards is that there are so many of them. Many > sites nowadays boast being "w3c compatible" (HTML 4.0.1 transitional or > slightly better). But I figure you refered to some other standards. Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI): http://www.w3.org/WAI/ See also: http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/ Checklist: http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/full-checklist.html (The very first item is to provide text equivalent for any non-textual element, including audio files). --- Omer -- Delay is the deadliest form of denial. C. Northcote Parkinson My own blog is at http://tddpirate.livejournal.com/ My opinions, as expressed in this E-mail message, are mine alone. They do not represent the official policy of any organization with which I may be affiliated in any way. WARNING TO SPAMMERS: at http://www.zak.co.il/spamwarning.html --------------------------------------------------------------------- To unsubscribe, e-mail: [EMAIL PROTECTED] For additional commands, e-mail: [EMAIL PROTECTED]