Jim Zemlin on this year’s breakout of the Linux desktop

Jim Zemlin of the Linux foundation wrote a very good post on this year being the year of the Linux desktop breakthrough. One thing he did only mention marginally, but which I think is just as important for certain users/markets, is the fact that there is now a wide range of accessibility solutions available for at least the GNOME desktop, which either come directly with the distribution such as the Orca screen reader for the visually impaired, or are easily installable. Screen reading, which includes support for a huge variety of braille displays, magnification, on-screen keyboard solutions, alternative input device support are all available as open-source now and open up the Linux desktop alternative to virtually every potential user.

And there’s more when it comes to the mobile platform. The Mozilla Foundation funded a feasibility study last year to migrate the communication layer for the assistive technology service provider interface (AT-SPI) from using Corba to using DBus, which is a key part in getting screen reading support on the mobile Linux platform. Nokia is now funding the actual migration work. I’ll blog more about the mobile prospective from an accessibility standpoint in the near future.


  1. Great point! You probably know that the Linux Foundation and its predecessor, the Free Standards Group, have been supporters of accessibility on Linux for years through our Accessibility workgroup.

  2. thanks for keeping the community informed, marco — and it should also be noted by the community that much the Open Accessibility Workgroup at the Linux Foundation (late of Free Standards Group) has accomplished has been by working with (amongst others) the mozilla foundation as part of the common effort to ensure that assistive technologies can share common frameworks and interoperable interfaces no matter what operating system a user happens to be running, as outlined in the Open Accessibility Workgroup’s Statement of Intent (http://a11y.org/a11yweb/soi.html)

  3. Hi Lynn,

    It won’t work right out of the box, since the accessibility infrastructure itself needs to be ported to mobile Linux first, but as soon as Corba, which is a real heavy-weight, is out of the way, this should be much easier to do.


  4. Hey Marco. Is there anything new in linux mobile accessibility world. its bin more than a year and nothing new is being said.

What are your thoughts?