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osOpinion: Let's Make Open Source Open For Everyone

Aug 18, 2000, 12:12 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Byron Sonne)

[ Thanks to Kelly McNeill for this link. ]

"...There is a fellow in a wheelchair that lives in the building where I work. A couple of months ago, he attempted to get down the stairs unaided and got hurt. I thought he was an idiot. Now I understand: there is a tremendous amount of frustration that comes with not being able to do what other people do, go where other people go, or to use what other people use."

"This brings me to the focus of this article: computers and software. I realize there are many efforts underway to assist disabled people in using computers. Before my accident, on Freshmeat I saw a project whose aim was to integrate speech synthesis into Linux, to the point where it was initialized very early on in the boot process. This allows blind people to hear their boot messages, instead of waiting for the system to boot completely, and then present them with a user environment tailored to suit their needs. I thought it was a great idea at the time. Now I have an enormous amount of respect for these people. But it is still not enough."

"Remember when your hard disk crashed, and you needed to replace it? You were sure glad that you kept that old drive in the closet. You went and got it, yanked the case off your box, replaced the drive, and changed your BIOS parameters to match. Then you slapped in your FreeBSD CD, did your slices and partitions, chose your canned sets, and not too much longer after that you had a system up again. I bet it took you less than an hour."

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