The conference is finally over, said goodbye to most people. Sitting in the quiet lobby with Joanie, I really want to continue playing with that Caribou mockup I worked on yesterday, but I guess I need to blog while the hackfest experience is still fresh.


I heard from more than one conference attendee that we created a bit of a buzz, which is great. Might be due to our tweetage, talks, booth or tripping on us when we congregate on the lobby’s bar floor with laptops.

In the past companies like IBM and Sun showcased GNOME a11y, which may have appealed for large customers, but it was nice to have a .org booth this year that really brought FOSS’s grass-roots message to individuals, trainers, agencies and institutes.

My talk was really well┬áreceived, I only wish it was slated for another hour besides 8 AM. Finally uploaded the slides. Not sure how well it renders on Firefox, apologies in advance. Also they aren’t the kind of slides that are very readable without the presentation.

Yesterday we had a wrap-up meeting, here are some notes Will took, didn’t bother to edit:

Eitan and Mike got Accerciser working with AT-SPI2

Eitan hacked a nice animation for Caribou with Clutter.

Ben enjoyed seeing the other booths to learn more about the space he is working in.

Ben was able to connect with Flavio to share ideas and develop a new collaboration with each other.

Ben was able to meet the SS12 students and follow up with them to get patches for Caribou.

Ke and Li met with Willie and Joanie to learn Orca internals, allowing them to help more.

Ke was able to learn more about various technologies related to accessibility.

Joanie and Alejandro looked at Orca together.

Joanie got good important face time with the Mozilla guys.

Li was happy to finally meet the rest of the team and also go over the bigger picture.

Steve Lee was happy to meet with the SS12 students and get more student input into GNOME.

Mike worked on AT-SPI2. Was glad to have the GNOME3 meeting because it helps us scope out what is needed. Mike also talked with Joanie about the Orca regression tests.

API found this to be a very positive experience to meet people face to face. Got to see that people (all conference attendees) see that open source a11y is important.

Willie thinks the GNOME 3 part is really important, he now thinks we could be successful in achieving GNOME 3 a11y. We also agreed on things we would not do, like the CSPI bindings and GOK. It was good to sit and brain dump Orca stuff with Joanie Li and Ke. On the show floor there were good conversations with people from different parts of the community, a lot of business cards! Talked to profs so they include GNOME in their classes, more HFOSS and PP stuff.

Bryen thought it was a good experience to see what we and others talk about wrt open source. Bryen was happy to meet everyone here and to connect with everyone and thanks us all for all of our hard work. Bryen has a connection with the UK Ability Magazine to write an a11y talk.

Willie and Eitan were interviewed for a podcast –

Mike and Brad were interviewed for another podcast.

Flavio was happy to finally meet us face to face! Flavio was pleased to see the effect GNOME a11y had on real end users who were coming by our booth. Helps immensely with self esteem. Flavio and Ben developed a new collaboration (yeah!).

Eitan wants us to blog more. ­čÖé


Heres to Joanie

One of the most dedicated and passionate GNOME accessibility activists is Joanie Diggs. She is the new Orca maintainer, and a classic example of how a user turns in to an advocate who turns in to a contributor. Besides her paying full time job, in recent years she has had another full time job in the form of Orca web accessibility and bug squashing.

Joanie has definitely made her mark, and is yet to do a lot more.

Joanie and Mike

Heres to Joanie

CSUN Hackfest and Exhibition: Call for Participation

Volunteer Park Water Tower

On March 22-27 2010, GNOME will have a booth presence at the CSUN conference in San Diego. CSUN is one of the largest and most important gatherings on the topic of technology and persons with disabilities. This is going to be a great opportunity to bring the gospel of Free Software to a space and industry that is largely proprietary, and to a user base with special needs that sometimes could only be addressed with Open Source software. This is going to be ├╝ber exciting!

Along with the booth and a presentation or two, we will also be hosting a GNOME assistive technology hackfest. The reasoning for this being the fact that this is an assistive technologies conference, so there really isn’t a better place to draw inspiration, both by seeing the “state of the art” proprietary products first hand, and by talking with users who have needs that we could answer.

Are you a maintainer of one of GNOME’s assistive technology modules? Are you developing an on screen keyboard? An alternative means for text input? A magnifier? Some trippy head-tracking app? Voice control? Switch access? Something new and exciting for cognitive disabilities? Are you hacking on new features for Orca? Are you working to provide users with disabilities unfettered access to GNOME?

If the answer to any of the above is ‘yes’, we hope you will consider joining fellow GNOME a11y folks at CSUN this year to help promote GNOME and to hack with fellow AT developers.

We hope to have funding for this hackfest, but we don’t yet really know what that means. We know that we will have to be creative about it to pull it off, so hopefully once you made up your mind to attend, you could help figure out how to afford it, if your employer could pay, if you have student discounts, etc. We will do our best to make it affordable to people who should be there, but no promises. Hope to have specifics about that in the future.

Please contact me if you have questions or interest in participating in this: eitani at gnome dot org

CSUN Hackfest and Exhibition: Call for Participation