I really can’t get myself worked up on anything RMS says anymore.
By reading the blogosphere in the week after GCDS, you would think that the only thing that went down there was RMS’s silly comments. While I am a long-time free software user and advocate, I have a hard time staying in tune with the FSF that spends most of it’s time telling us what not to do, what not to use, and generally informs us of the world’s evils. Sitting at the registration desk at GCDS we got a sticker dump from Stallman, besides a “Linux/GNU” sticker, all the stickers informed us about what is crap. This is not how you build a movement.
In the past decade I have seen some fantastic and creative FOSS. While RMS has played a historic role in this movement, it is time to thank him for the tool chain, invite him to keynote, if you must be polite, and move on. Write code, write documentation, compose music, in any platform you choose. But most important, don’t get caught up in this guy’s rhetoric, it’s just not worth it.
While it would be convenient to self righteously point fingers at an infrequent keynoter’s sexist joke, the real work needs to be done in the IRC channels, the planets, and mailing lists. With ourselves. We have issues with sexism, big ones.
I almost didn’t make it to the desktop summit this year, but I am really glad I did. It has been a great week. I enjoyed catching up with people and complaining about accessibility issues. Being a generally shy person makes it hard to hang out with other introverted computer geeks, but the relaxed beach atmosphere, and the free booze helped.
Ara Pulido gave a fantastic introduction to Mago. It made me very proud to have taken part in that project, I really hope it takes off with expansive test coverage.
I am now back in Seattle. In a new home, with a new green towel. Can’t wait to use it.
It is really great to see Raphael Nunes persist with his GSOC project from two years ago. Speech recognition is an often overlooked assistive technology on GNOME. His GSOC project, GNOME-Voice-Control, is a good proof of concept to what is possible with available speech recognition technologies like Sphinx. Unlike last night’s personal demo, the demo during the presentation worked, and received applause.
There is a lot more work to be done, but Raphael has a lot of enthusiasm and ideas. Now that he has more time on his hands, I hope we get to see more and more compeling features, and perhaps, maybe, have software that would provide full speech control of the desktop.
Overall, I am very pleased with the accessibility-related talks we had this year. I counted so far Sandy‘s UIA talk, API‘s Cally talk, and Raphael’s speech talk. There might have even been a few that I missed. This is an improvement from the last GUADEC I was at, when I was the only one with an accessibility-related presentation.
Mark Doffman gave a briefing of the state of GNOME accessibility towards 3.0. If I could recall the few slides from memory they included:
This is probably the largest body of work that has been done recently on the GNOME a11y front. AT-SPI currently is the biggest bonobo interface we have, and it’s migration to D-Bus, mostly by Mark and Mike Gorse has been a major undertaking. The first release is due shortly.
Gnome-mag did not have a maintainer until very recently. Now we do. It must be ported to D-Bus too.
Text to speech is a hot topic. Mark didn’t go into detail regarding this, but we are dealing with multiple issues. First, of course, is it’s use of CORBA. Second, the fact that it leaves the sound device output up to the synth engine makes results inconsistent with different synthesizers. This is especially noticeable when major sound subsystem changes are occuring, specifically around PulseAudio.
Luke “TheMuso” Yelavich is currently scrambling to get Speech Dispatcher into shape. Speech Dispatcher uses raw sockets and it’s own protocol, it does not use D-Bus, as Mark suggested. It would be really nice if it did, and if it were D-Bus activated, but it isn’t. On a non-accessibility related note, I think we would all benefit from a desktop speech service.
GNOME-Shell and Mutter currently use Clutter for a lot of their graphics, this makes AT-SPI support tricky and non-trivial. This will obviously need to be resolved before GNOME 3.0 since as the name suggests, this will be GNOME’s shell!
I am going to eat ice cream.
Ok, I am back. I forgot what else I had to write, so I might get back to this in another post. Or not.