So, a blind person bought a Pinephone, wanting to put Mobian on it. Since Debian has given such good accessibility features on desktop, it should give just as much accessibility on mobile. Debian on mobile should have blind users' backs. Right?

Wrong. This is just what I've been saying for the past year or so. And now, for this person who has spent their hard-earned money on a Pinephone, it's too late. Now all they have is an expensive paperweight. There is an issue created for this, though.

gitlab.gnome.org/World/Phosh/p

#a11y #debian #mobian #mobile #foss #accessibility

@devinprater All respect to this, but mobian devs, posh devs, gnome devs, and so on and so forth are doing their best in order to deliver a product that is not ready to replace an android device yet, they don't have the resources that android devs have, they're not backed by google.

So if you want to improve this situation, donate if you have money and send the message. Probably a crowdfunding campaign would help.

@lorabe This is but a symptom of a systematic issue of inaccessibility in FOSS. People can toss around blame all they want. I didn't even blame Pine for this. And yeah, users should read about stuff they're about to spend money on. But this user trusted the Debian, and thus, Mobian community. But whatever. I'm stepping back from FOSS for the most part. I'll comment on it, but I'm not about to do more work when I'm basically alone in doing it.

@devinprater You are in your right to complain, but that doesn't solve the problem, it prevents understanding.

It's quite easy to complain when you take the availability of funds and hired people for granted, but programmers are spending their free time in good faith and people don't seem to care or acknowledge their contributions.

I guess in this case i will side with the devs, but the best solution to all of this is to coordinate and collect money in order to actually fund development.

@lorabe Sure. As a blind person, I’ve tried putting myself out there, so that developers can work with me and otheR blind Linux users. But sure. I’m just yet anotheR damn user taking advantage of poor developers that are just trying to enjoy something that isn’t their day job. Never mind that companies like System 76 and the Gnome Foundation work on this fulltime. But whatever. I won’t bother the developer gods with such lowly issues as the most disadvantaged group of people ever not being able to use their software which they publish to the world.

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@devinprater @lorabe
Phosh is mainly developed by Purism, not by Mobian, Debian and especially not by Pine. The pinephone costs a fraction of the Librem 5, for the most part because they don't create the software for it. I paid 4 times as much hard earned money for an L5 as you, so that we can have that in the future.
Funding as well as volunteering are needed there.

@danielst @lorabe I’ll fund whoever will work on accessibility. Right now, that's just @storm and the Stormux team.

@devinprater @danielst @lorabe @storm
A big problem is that libre devs seem to just not want to learn about accessibility.
If you spend hours ricing your setup or arguing about languages, you can't claim to not have time to read up on accessibility.

Accessibility is also not something you add as an afterthought, just like security, you consider it from day 0, so you don't have to rebuild things from the ground up when it turns out your initial assumptions are incompatible with accessibility.

@devinprater @danielst @lorabe @storm

Btw this is my regular foss callout post:
if you are thinking of writing another fucking ncurses app you had better have a damn good reason for mimicking a proper GUI toolkit extremely poorly. UNIX fetishism is not such a reason.

@devinprater @danielst @lorabe @storm
I'm saying this as someone who contributes to Guix and experiments with Plan 9: (some) Linux fans need to get their priorities in order.

@csepp @devinprater @danielst @lorabe What's wrong with ncurses? Dialog works great for adding ui to scripts. Programs like cmus are accessible.

@storm @lorabe @danielst @devinprater
Screen reader support isn't the only accessibility criteria.
Supporting high contrast mode or font scaling is not something I've seen in any TUI app.

Also a fixed character grid is a pointless waste of screen space.

Also I haven't seen any TUI besides maybe Kakoune where I could visually select text in a column. Weechat is a notable example of an app that fails this.

@csepp @storm @lorabe @danielst @devinprater I was recently trying to find resources for this, and failed. As a generally-abled developer of stuff that is usually TUI-based, I have no idea how to ensure that my stuff is accessible.

Is there an idiot's guide to TUI accessibility best practices, like there are for web design?

I haven't learned to build any GUI things competently yet, but I'd _hope_ that Gnome would have decent docs for how to use GTK accessibly...

@seachaint
Off the top of my head: there is the GNOME and elementary human interface guidelines.
@storm @lorabe @danielst @devinprater

@csepp @storm @lorabe @danielst @devinprater Gnome HIGs appear to be GUI focused. Still, some material looks useful, like keyboard shortcut conventions, thanks.

@seachaint @csepp @lorabe @danielst @devinprater As far as I know, GTK is accessible unless you actively try to break it. Meaning, so long as you use a button as a button, a text box as a textbox, etc it should just work. I know this is a different toolkit entirely, but a good example of doing things wrong was Zoom. For quite a long time, they were using a label item as a textbox. So, Orca would read something like "meeting id label" and you would have to type into that. There was no way to navigate, or read what you had entered. It was easiest to just copy the id you wanted and paste it. They have corrected that problem in the latest couple releases, and it is now using a textbox which works like a textbox, and the accessibility problems magically disappeared. Well, at least for that problem anyway lol.

@csepp
See we don't have to depend on people who don't care about accessibility. We can create organizations that care about accessibility and fund people to work on accessibility.
@devinprater @danielst @lorabe @storm

@csepp
When there is a problem, there are usually two ways. 1. Find someone to blame for the issue, which is very easy. 2. Find a solution to the problem, which is very hard. When the solution requires collective action, it needs a lot of patience to work with others and then the solution may take a long time to build. So a lot of people chose option 1.
@devinprater @danielst @lorabe @storm

@praveen
Good point. Although in theory there already supposed be organizations where accessibility dev is an explicit goal, like GNOME. Maybe a new organization would help move things along faster, but I really really hope that GNOME gets its accessibility act together.
@devinprater @danielst @lorabe @storm

@csepp @praveen @danielst @lorabe @storm I kinda feel like they’ve forgotten about accessibility, but that's just me being synical. But I wouldn't know how to even start an organization.

@devinprater
It shouldn't be too difficult to start an informal one, but I don't have much experience either. Maybe ask the Gnu Assembly folks for advice?
gnu.tools these folks.

@praveen @danielst @lorabe @storm

@csepp
Yes, starting an informal group can be an initial step. So start with a brief note on what you want to achieve and then ask people interested to join you. It can be any group, like a mailing list, matrix/xmpp/irc or a discussion forum. Once you are clear about the goals, you can think about ways to achieve it. There may be existing options like Purism fund your app campaign which you can leverage. Ask people to propose accessibility as one item.
@devinprater @danielst @lorabe @storm

@praveen @csepp @danielst @lorabe @storm I mean there's already @storm and there was linux-a11y.org. There's already an IRC group, irc.linux-a11y.org. But it's so loose, and Billy seems to just work on stuff like Audiogame Manager, which will be great... once more blind people join Linux. I just don't know how to get a group started on reaching out to projects though, because we can't build a desktop ourselves. I mean we don't even have a list of great, accessible apps. Then again maybe even I can do that, and others can add to it. Because again, I can't do this alone.

@devinprater
Yeah, something like that "are we accessible yet" site I mentioned a few threads ago would be a good step forward and it would help track progress.
@praveen @danielst @lorabe @storm

@devinprater
There may be more people interested to do this, so first task is to ask people to join a group. If there is an existing group that works as well. Create broad goals first and then it can be broken down to specific apps and problems.
@csepp @danielst @lorabe @storm

@praveen @devinprater @csepp @danielst @lorabe Thanks for the heads up. I let the people in charge of managing the site know. Hopefully it will be back soon.

@devinprater @csepp @praveen @danielst @lorabe @storm GTK4 has pretty much a full revamp of the accessibility system (taking out ATK, to use AT-SPI2 directly). It probably seems like bikeshedding, but it's actually them training a team who actually know about accessibility on Debian; all that knowledge was lost during a failed inter-organisation migration when the funding disappeared.

@devinprater @csepp @praveen @danielst @lorabe @storm Also, AT-SPI2 doesn't work: nothing implements it properly (not even the GNOME apps), and it will hang bits of your computer when you try to use it.

I don't know how *anyone* uses screen-readers on Debian, honestly. (Orca's great, given what little I know about the chaotic mess it's dealing with, but I can't tolerate using it.)

@wizzwizz4 @devinprater @csepp @praveen @danielst @lorabe @storm I recall a thread where someone recounted some history behind all this, that there were several projects funded by the (American Council for the Blind?) to improve accessibility, but each time Microsoft (a big ACB funder) threatened to pull funding unless they dropped the projects.

And the reason appears to be: governments require accessibility in their software, so MS et al didn't want any threats to their monopoly over government contracts.

So to accuse OSS community of simply not caring enough to bother isn't really accurate - there is deliberate monopolism at play here. MS and Apple might appear to "care more" but only when it gets them access to tenders, and excludes the communal software from the competition.

@seachaint @wizzwizz4 @csepp @praveen @danielst @lorabe @storm Sure, but that hasn't been the case since, oh maybe 2006 or so. So FOSS has had a decade to improve.

@devinprater
Also there are notable foss subcultures that fully disregard accessibility. /me looking at all the suckless fans.
@seachaint @wizzwizz4 @praveen @danielst @lorabe @storm

@csepp @devinprater @wizzwizz4 @praveen @danielst @lorabe @storm Oh goodness yes, but all communities are full of terrible people. The people who care cluster in caring communities.

Are they smaller than they should be? Yes. But I have a feeling that dev burnout particularly affects people working in areas like this. Especially when some of the best of them may have seen several cycles of monopoly-death after getting their hopes up.

I do think it's a responsibility to make accessibility a first-class requirement for any serious project. Like documentation, it should be drilled into budding devs that this isn't optional. And so things like Phosh failing to take it seriously from day 1 does bother me. Do it badly if that's all you can do. But fucking do it.

@wizzwizz4 @devinprater @csepp @praveen @danielst @lorabe @storm Testing latest GTK 4 on arch linux with gtk4-demo and orca, the experience is rather unintuitive as compared to GTK 3.
Orca can't flat review, can't intercept keypresses, roles and states are not wired.
Looking at GTK gitlab I can only find some stale a11y related issues.

@wizzwizz4 @devinprater @csepp @praveen @danielst @lorabe @storm Looking at other gnome apps I see some of them are transitioning to GTK 4. If nothing radical happens by the time gnome 42 gets released we will feel a11y experience is rapidly degrading I'm afraid.

@pvagner @wizzwizz4 @devinprater @csepp @praveen @danielst @lorabe I do not use Gnome, haven't done so since gnome 3 came out. Litterally the only reason I use orca is because it's the only GUI screen reader for Linux. My hope is that most of the apps I use will stick with GTK 2 and 3. I have heard quite awful things about gtk 4, and not just for a11y.

@storm @lorabe @danielst @devinprater @wizzwizz4 @csepp @pvagner I just donated 50 USD to puri.sm/fund-your-app/ to fund "Software Optimizations: Accessibility support/screen reader support with phosh/gtk4" @purism I think we need to find ways to fund a11y support in gtk4, sticking with older unsupported versions is not going to be sustainable for long term.

@storm @lorabe @danielst @devinprater @wizzwizz4 @csepp @pvagner @purism I just talked to someone at Purism and they are positive about supporting it as it aligns with their goals. They are asking me for a list of priorities. I suggested screen reader, but if you all, who needs this more than me, can create a prioritized list of accessibility features, then I can share it with them.

@praveen @storm @lorabe @danielst @devinprater @wizzwizz4 @csepp In relation to @purism #librem5 The most prominent and difficult to implement feature would be #accessibility aware touch input support. In order to be productive we need to be able to explore the screen content before activating touch controls.

@pvagner @praveen @storm @lorabe @danielst @devinprater @csepp @purism What would the UI for that be like? "Single tap reads, double tap activates"? (Would there be a clicking noise when you tap something, or does it just read straight away?)

From what I can tell, the stuff I've described wouldn't be that hard to implement, assuming a correct AT-SPI2 implementation in the application. In Firefox, you'd be able to "see through walls" (be told about things in hidden tabs) until that bug is fixed.

@wizzwizz4 @praveen @storm @lorabe @danielst @devinprater @csepp @purism Single tap / touch / hover would read what's under the finger if there is enough text / accessibility support within the underlying control. Double tap should activate. There should be also a way to assign other touch gestures to screen reader actions such as text review commands

@pvagner @praveen @wizzwizz4 @storm @lorabe @devinprater @csepp @purism
(1/4) While Purism is overwhelmed, understaffed and underfunded, I could actually imagine that GTK4 makes a11y simpler in the long run. Why? Purism created libhandy, now libadwaita in GTK4, providing consistent, complex, advanced, themeable controls, automatically adapting whole dialogs between mobile and desktop form factors.

@pvagner @praveen @wizzwizz4 @storm @lorabe @devinprater @csepp @purism
(2/4) libadwaita controls know about their state, e.g. settings dialog knows it's currently in the WiFi sub-dialog, even if the menu is hidden on mobile. Apps using those controls automatically benefit from all improvements there, be it default gestures or screen reader integration.

@pvagner @praveen @wizzwizz4 @storm @lorabe @devinprater @csepp @purism
(3/4) Question: Is one-tap-read-two-click really a good approach? It implies you have to tap around a lot to find stuff. With libadwaita it should be possible to do something like "read out top level items". For gnome-settings, in desktop mode it would read "menu" and "content: WiFi", indicating that WiFi is the selected menu item.

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@storm @lorabe @danielst @praveen @devinprater @wizzwizz4 @csepp OK, then this effect won't be visible to you right now, however sooner or later more and more apps will use GTK 4. It's the same with GTK 2 and GTK 3. Only old rather unmaintained apps are targetting GTK 2 these days.

@pvagner @lorabe @danielst @praveen @devinprater @wizzwizz4 @csepp while that is true, QT accessibility keeps improving. I am hoping that by the time GTK becomes completely unusable that QT will have taken its place. Fortunately, in my case, I use CLI for most things, so if I absolutely had to, I could install a Windows VM for the things I can't do graphically. That is last resort, but it is an option.

@devinprater
Purism has a fund your app campaign puri.sm/fund-your-app/ You could propose Accessibility support as a priority. Apparently no one thought about it yet. So you could propose that as a priority to Purism and fund it too. @purism
@danielst @lorabe @storm

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