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Festival des Arts Numériques Libres

What libre software lacks for being used by accessibility actors?

Speaker(s) : Jean-Philippe Mengual, Sylvain Grille, Samuel Thibault

  • Language : Français
  • Level : Newbie
  • Nature : Round-table conference
  • Date : Wednesday 13 July 2011
  • Schedule : 11h20
  • Duration : 40 minutes

Place : Bâtiment Droit - Eisenmann (amphi 1)


Through its arrival on the mainstream GNU/Linux distributions market, and thanks to the action of very dynamic groups, libre software has nowadays acquired some credibility. The solutions it provides for accessibility effectively work and are free. Even Windows has its free screen reader.

Still it remains not very widely used. Users, public institutions, enterprises, associations, continue focusing on proprietary solutions. Is it just a communication issue? Is it due to rigidity of the handicap world?

The reality is that a stone is missing from the structure interfacing the community and handicap actors. Its role would be providing service and training, but foremost being a solid ground, a guarantee of quality of service when facing issues. In addition to missing documentation, this lack of guides in the communautary profusion is worrying and can hinder beginners’ good will. What solutions exist today?


Sciences-Po student, I am only a (blind) user of Linux. I met it in 2004. I have mostly practiced Debian and had a 2-year break with Linux From Scratch.

My contributions revolve around translation and management of a system from the user side. I am progressively growing an deep experience in the accessibility theme, so as to explain that libre software can play a major role. In that regard, I have participated to FOSDEM 2011 and am member of the Accessibility workgroup of APRIL.

I am currently still using Debian, I use Gnome, Orca, Brltty, and Voxin (proprietary). I am vice-president of Traduc.org, coordinator of the translation of the Linux From Scratch book, brltty, virtualbox, speakup, ... moderator and co-admin of absolinux.net and secretary of various local libre software user groups.