Accessible Computing Foundation

I recently listened to a podcast from Linux Outlaws (episode 246) where they were covering accessibility as the main subject.  As someone who has Cerebral Palsy I have found it frustrating that some of the devices that I use are not supported fully under Linux.

For example: I use the Kensington Expert Mouse (which is actually a trackerball), which has four buttons; so I can program one as a drag-lock and one as a double-click.  This device is fully support under OS X as well as another known proprietary, unstable, operating system.  On occasions I have emailed Kensington to ask about bring support to Linux; and each time they just respond saying that there isn’t enough demand for it; they won’t even release a spec to help the Opensource community write the appropriate software/driver.

I have experimented with the accessibility options under a few Linux distributions and have had some limited success in making the Kensington Expert Mouse functional.  Setting one of the buttons as a double-click is fairly simple but trying to set one button to toggle drag-lock on and off, as I do with OS X, I have not yet mastered.

Getting back to the title of this post; I was pleased to here that the Accessible Computing Foundation has been set up to try and make Computers, particularly running Linux / Opensource Software, more accessible to people with disabilities.  I recommend and anyone reading this post go and check out their site for more details.  But the basic idea is that the ACF will take donations so they can pay programmers to develop software/drivers to make using computers more accessible; and the software will be given to the Opensource community, most likely licensed under something like GPL.

If you would like to see the Kensington Expert Mouse working under Linux then I urge you to email Kensington with your request and also let me know either through email or twitter. I also urge you to give support to ACF, either by donation, some time, or some coding if you can.

I want to see Linux become fully accessible to everyone, so nobody has to depend on proprietary software for everyday computing needs.