Rand … ahhh

I’ve decided to go to Randa again this year.

There’s at least four reasons for me to go:

  • change of pace, trading coding-in-the-attic-office for coding-in-the-dining-room
  • change of pace, trading discuss-coding-on-IRC for discuss-coding-while-hiking-to-the-glacier
  • with a little planning, we can probably get further up the mountain than last year
  • someone needs to make brigadeiro.

More seriously, the theme this year (from the page for this year’s meeting) is

Accessibility is the big topic. But what does accessibility mean regarding KDE and what else do we want to make more accessible?

From that perspective, there are two kinds of accessibility I’m interested in: making KDE available on FreeBSD (which includes hammering PIM into shape) is one. That’s a bit of a cop-out, really. I mean, I could bring my BeagleBone (probably will, too) and claim I was making KDE accessible to armv6. So portability and platform accessibility is a small thing.

More important to me is actual accessibility in the sense of using-software-with-a-screenreader. When I worked for the Dutch Federation of Audiological Centres, I learned a lot about accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. A software application that is primarily visual in nature doesn’t need much accessibility work for that. But I was one floor above the Dutch Stichting Accessibility, which works for the vision-impaired. That’s been sort-of hanging around the back of my conscience. So, accessibility in the more generally-accepted sense: making Free Software usable by people of all sort and abilities.

So I’ve got two things to sort out (geez, why do I keep getting bogged down in case-distinctions):

  • Orca screen reader in KDE on FreeBSD,
  • Orca screen reader support in Calamares. This is actually the biggie — and only tangentially related to KDE. Calamares is not a KDE project, but is used as the system installer for a variety of smaller Linux distro’s. There’s an issue filed against Calamares that it is largely inaccessible. This is due in part to the way it needs root (e.g. is run through sudo). That makes it difficult to install Linux — even if the eventual installed system is accessible, the installer isn’t. So I’m going to tackle that at Randa. Doing so will make some other issues go away as well — or maybe, I need to make some other issues go away before tackling Orca, and this will make the whole codebase better.

Serendipidity! One Randa meeting to inspire me to work on things I might otherwise put off, and where it turns out that working on accessibility improves things across the board.

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