Hi Philip,
Hmmm...I see your point. Yeah, it would be sort of hard to get a very
precise count that way seeing as that is probably too general. I know
that there are at least 300 VI users running Linux and perhaps Mac
now, but how many that would purchase BGT or something like Q9 is
anyone's guess simply by looking at the number of members on each
accessibility list.
For example, the Linux accessibility community isn't very centralized
the way the Audyssey community is. Instead there is the Orca mailing
list, Gnome Accessibility list, Speakup mailing list, Eamacspeak list,
Vinux has its own community, etc. there are doubtless going to be
several members on more than one list screwing up the results as you
would have to have a way to filter out the repeats.
Then, there is the matter of the type of users on those lists. Like
every other mailing list you have the usual range of everything from
the die-hard users to the mildly interested. I've been on and off the
various Linux and Mac accessibility lists for years and I know there
are a few die-hard Linux and Mac users that don't have Windows, don't
want Windows, and wouldn't touch Windows with a barge poll. These
die-hard users wouldn't necessarily show up on a list like Audyssey,
since most accessible games are for Windows, but might be interested
in games for Linux since that is their choice of operating system.
There are also plenty of users like myself that aren't die-hards, but
own and use both Windows and Linux or Windows and Mac OS side by side
on their computer. They also might be interested assuming the Linux
and Mac versions were of equal quality as the Windows release.
Finally, you have, what I call, the mildly interested users. These are
your typical members who sign up, ask a few questions, maybe gives
Linux or Mac OS a try, and then leaves a short time later. Perhaps
they didn't like it, changed their mind, whatever but they are not
truly interested in the software so are the least likely to purchase.
So definitely should be filtered out of the equation too.
So you are right just getting the number of list members isn't very
accurate. What we need to do is set up some kind of survey somewhere
and then get in contact with the various lists announcing that it is
open to Mac and Linux VI users. As this is something I am very
interested in myself I'd love to help out with the project in anyway I
can. Although, I intend to create some Linux games for my own personal
reasons, seeing I am a Linux user, it would be very nice to see where
we stand commercially with alternative platforms such as Linux and
Mac. If there is some financially convincing reason to open up these
platforms something like BGT could go a long way to resolving the
problem of easily creating cross-platform games for Mac, Linux, and
Windows using a single toolkit.
I guess my real concern is not so much finding enough Linux or Mac
users, but how many would actually purchase a game or related software
product we create. Over the years I have met more than my fair share
of both blind and sighted Linux users that are of the attitude "if it
isn't free it isn't for me." Do to the fact Linux is a community
driven project, is free, is open source, etc some Linux users are of
the opinion that all software should be that way. Unfortunately, for
them it is this very attitude that has given rise to the belief among
commercial software developers and companies that a software product
for Linux would not financially do well. However, there are Linux
users out there like me who aren't quite so dogmatic about free and
open source software. It is from this group I'd like to find out how
many are willing to spend a little money to increase the catalog of
accessible games for Linux. That's the true problem as I see it.
And before I go I have one last thought on this particular subject.
Even if the results don't indicate a real financial reason to create
Mac or Linux versions now there certainly may come a day when that
One reason I personally use Linux is that it truly is a cheaper
alternative to Windows. When you factor in the cost of upgrading
Windows, your screen reader, Microsoft Office, etc that is quite a bit
of money going out of our pocket each year. As the blind are largely
unemployed in the United States, usually surviving on SSI and SSDI, we
really can't afford to pay out hundreds of dollars to continue
supporting Microsoft, Freedom Scientific, and all the rest. The more
people who find out that they can save money by switching to a Mac or
by installing Linux may choose to do so. Simple economics may force
some of us who are living on disability income may have to consider
cheaper alternatives.
The other factor in why I chose to switch to Linux is I am beginning
to see a shift in software accessibility. For example, Microsoft
Office 2010 is far less accessible than previous versions of MS Office
while Open Office for Linux is continuing to become more accessible.
Visual C# 2010 is far less accessible than Visual C# 2008, but
Monodevelop is improving accessibility wise. It is as though Linux
software is taking a major step forward in terms of accessibility
improvements while Microsoft and their products are reversing
direction and backsliding.
Perhaps the most important accessibility feature Mac OS and Vinux
offer is the ability to install the entire operating system from
scratch using speech or braille. With Windows the installation isn't
accessible in any way, shape, or form unless you use an unattended
script or upgrade from within Windows itself. I have a friend who just
paid a tech something like $200 to upgrade from XP to Windows 7,
because he was blind and didn't have any way to install Windows 7 from
scratch himself. Were he running a Mac he could have simply purchased
a copy of Snow Leopard, put it in the drive, booted the virtual
desktop, and did the entire install using VoiceOver, or he could have
used Vinux 3.0, and installed Linux with Orca from start to finish. It
is my feeling that it is accessibility features like this that may
eventually get the attention of more VI computer users once they find
out about them, and that Windows is actually beginning to fall behind
in terms of accessibility. The next generation of Mac OS and Linux may
actually start pulling ahead of Windows in terms of accessibility, is
also cheaper, and that is something to certainly think about for the


On 8/29/10, Philip Bennefall <phi...@blastbay.com> wrote:
> Hi Thomas,
> This is a good idea, but I think that the figures I would get from these
> lists would be a bit too general unless therea re specific lists for Mac and
> Linux audio games. Instead, what I think I might do is to post a survey on
> the Blastbay website and of course on this list and a bunch of other
> distribution channels, asking straight out whether people would purchase
> either BGT or say Q9 if it were available for Mac or Linux. Now, considering
> that I would have to purchase a Mac myself in order to even begin a port, I
> would have to get a strong interest; at least 250 or 300 potential customers
> for each platform if I am to take on such an endeavour.
> Kind regards,
> Philip Bennefall

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