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.