Hello Dave,
Correct. Section 508 applies to software that would be purchased by
the Federal government. this generally applies to operating systems,
office programs, etc that a blind employee for the government might
have to use.  Unfortunately, the definition of accessibility of the
software seams to be somewhat vague and problematic.
For example, one program that is officially declared as Section 508
compliant is Sun's Star Office. While that technically might be true
what Sun doesn't come out and tell you about their software is in
order to get full Section 508 compliance out of the application you
better have the right dependancies or else. You need the official Sun
Java 6JRE, the latest Sun Java Accessibility Bridge, and a screen
reader like Jaws 11 that supports the Java Access Bridge. If you want
to use Window-Eyes, Hal, etc with Sun Star Office you can forget it.
It is totally and absolutely inaccessible with most Windows screen
readers so it really isn't Section 508 compliant in my opinion.
Linux users have a similar type of problem with Star Office as well.
Do to the way Linux is licensed and the way Sun licenses the Java
technology you have to download and install the official Sun JRE,
compile the Java Access Bridge for Linux from source, and properly
configure Gnome to use the Java Access Bridge. So you have to really
know what you are doing just to get the accessibility requirements in
place before installing and using Star Office.  Even though it works
with aadaptive technology on Linux again doesn't meet my standard of
true accessibility in this case as you have to do far too much
installing and configuring just to use that application.
In fact, the only operating system that remotely handles Star Office
consistantly is Mac. Mac OS has the java JRE and Java Access Bridge
built in so it is a case of install Star Office and use it. Now, why
can't Star Officess accessibility be that easy on Windows and Linux?
Anyway, the fact is Section 508 is really not what it is cracked up to
be.  Once again the government has passed a law that really holds no
meaning for those of us it was intended for.  All it really does is
insure some minimal accessibility for software we might use on a job
site, but doesn't state how much accessibility we will really get or
that the software in question will work with the adaptive technology
we have and use on a daily basis.  However, as this really doesn't
have anything to do with games I'll get off my soapbox.


On 5/23/10, David Mehler <dave.meh...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello,
> My name is Dave. I've been out of the blind gaming realm for a little
> while, something to do with time, but i'm back. And I've been reading
> up on this thread, it seems to be all over the place.
> I'd like to comment on two points. First the Section 508 is government
> and it to my understanding means that any government-purchased
> application such as Microsoft Word just as an example, must utilize
> features so that assistive technologies can work with them. Note, this
> does not mean the app is accessible to all, for example, I know a
> friend who works for the IRS where they use a database application.
> Using said app with her screen reader Jaws, is a nightmare to the
> point of unusability, but the app is still considered section 508
> because she can use a Braille display.
> The second point i'd like to comment on is game sounds. I agree with
> both Thomas and Phil, I think they both have valid points. For me game
> sounds need to be realistic or as realistic as possible. If we're
> talking like something like a game based loosely on a commercial
> product, the sounds probably won't be exactly the same and i
> understand that, but for those cases if i've grown up playing a
> particular game in that case i'd want it as close to the original as
> not crossing a copyright line would let me get.
> Another option might be game sound packs, although this could get
> confusing. I think there's one out there or maybe it's integrated by
> now, in to SoundRTS.
> Just my two cents.
> Dave.
> (A+, Network+, MCP, MCSA, MCSE)

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