18 November, 2005

Ding Ding! Let's get ready to rumblllllle

Gawd. Wake up this morning, and I find out that Mass is having another miniature war regarding whether they were even allowed to mandate their choice of formats; and coming up against opposition in the form of amendments to legislation currently on the table. This is subsequent to the Oct 31, 2005 hearing. Basically, it's not looking good for Massachusett's original decision, with heavyweights coming in from all corners, most of them on the side of a well-established corporation with a large financial interest in staying alive. Frankly, you probably know what side I sit on. People have already stated that as long as ODF supports the stuff that they need to do, then they are fine with it. Curtis Chong, president of the National Fedaration of the Blind in Computer science, has said he is willing to change his mind and possibly support ODF if some aspects are considered. David Berlind covered this in a recent post . Another objection to this has come in the form of people saying effectively that "all the disability software is written with Windows/Microsoft in mind", which is true because of the profile that Microsoft have in the desktop market. So they see that there isn't any point putting in alternatives, as Microsoft is already present. One of the most prevalent of these is a piece of software called "JAWS", and hooks into Office, operating as a screenreader, among other things. Be aware that as I'm not affected by a mobility or visual disability, I haven't had a need for any relevant software in these fields. As a result, I don't know what the state of play is regarding this software. I have heard JAWS is apparently pretty good. Linux has a rather poor showing in comparison, though new versions of Gnome and KDE have text-to-speech programs as part of their respective desktops. So far, I haven't succeeded in getting the Gnome version to work on Ubuntu Hoary. And I'm reasonably knowledgeable about setting computers up under Linux. I guess that this battle hasn't ended yet, not by a long shot. (More editing probably needed)

No comments: