"If the push to extend Linux to the desktop is
successful, the disabled will be big beneficiaries. The Gnome
Accessibility Framework is finalizing a release that incorporates
support for accessible applications programs, a move that will make
it far simpler for developers to link peripherals such as screen
readers to systems running the open-source Linux operating system.
The project to develop the hooks needed for accessibility
hardware and software was begun by Sun Microsystems Inc. (Palo
Alto, Calif.), but has now gained the help of a number of companies
within and without the small industry that focuses on accessibility
for handicapped people. Among them are IBM, HP-Compaq and Linux
proponents Red Hat, Eazel and TurboLinux.
'Gnome 2.0 has been completely redesigned; we're building full
support for disabilities into it,' said Peter Korn, accessibility
manager at Sun, referring to the GNU project's Gnome platform for
home and office desktop PCs. 'It's no longer just a Sun effort. We
have gotten lots of help from the open community.'"