Open Source Accessibility for Linux

IBM has participated in Linux open source projects to provide GNOME desktop accessibility, to create development tools for checking GNOME accessibility, and to make Firefox compatible with the Orca screen reader. We also worked with the Mozilla Foundation to develop grants for open source programmers to improve accessibility on the platform as a whole.

GNOME Accessibility Project Enhancements and Fixes

The goal of the GNOME Accessibility effort is to ensure that people with disabilities can use the standard GNOME desktop user environment. There are three sub-pieces to delivering such a desktop:

  1. Defining what it means to be accessible.
  2. Ensuring that all applications that comprise the GNOME desktop conform to that definition of accessibility.
  3. Building the assistive technologies that people with disabilities use in order to interact with the GNOME user environment.

IBM participated in the GNOME Accessibility project by contributing code, documentation, testing, bug fixes and enhancements related to the accessibility APIs (ATK and AT-SPI), GNOME speech, magnification, developer guidelines, the Accerciser inspect tool, the Linux® Screen Reader, accessibility preferences, and other accessibility bug fixes. Note: IBM is no longer actively developing the Linux Screen Reader. While LSR is still available through the GAP open source community, the current Linux GNOME platform screen reader is Orca, which was developed by Sun Microsystems (now Oracle). IBM participates indirectly in the development of this assistive technology that uses various combinations of speech, Braille and magnification to prove access to applications and toolkits that support the GNOME desktop.

Accerciser Inspect Tool for Linux ATK/AT-SPI

Accerciser is an interactive Python accessibility explorer. It uses AT-SPI to inspect and control widgets, allowing you to check if an application is providing correct information to assistive technologies and automated test frameworks. Accerciser has a simple plug-in framework you can use to create custom views of accessibility information.

IBM created the original prototype of Accerciser and donated it to the GNOME open source community, where it is being enhanced and maintained through Mozilla Foundation grants and other open source community efforts.

Last updated, June 1, 2011

GNOME Accessibility Project Resources

Accerciser Inspect Tool Resources

Linux Screen Reader Resources

For people who want to see and hear LSR without installing Linux, refer to the fourteen minute Flash demonstration titled Linux Screen Reader ... is not just a screen reader

Additional information about LSR is available on the project homepage, which links to: