Friday, January 19, 2007

open standards

I have to say something,

I use Linux, i prefer it to windows or osx. No big deal you say. No big deal to me either. But there is more. I mentioned in previous posts about my son, he has cerebral palsy. Now the thing that links that fact with the theme for this post is the idea of freedom. Not freedom as in liberty, not freedom as in free beer (that always seemed like a poor hook to me) But personal freedom.

I want to know what sort of open standards are out there for my son. He is really motivated when using the computer, he get really animated about it. he actually really likes the gcompris suite and the childsplay suite of programs. But it is exhausting to use them with him. This is because in this particular environment we cant use his switches with it. Now correct me if I am wrong and please do because it will be of great if you do. But I cant find any firmware or drivers for switches in Linux. This is not necessarily the fault of the development community but more the fault of the device manufacturers. Yet this is the same community that will enthusiastically reverse engineer other obscure pieces of hardware.

There is much effort, time and weight put behind bashing proprietary word processing formats (rightly so in my opinion). But what is being done to create a standard for accessibility and support for equipment. How do the different distribution teams communicate to ensure that they all follow the same standard?

This is not a major criticism of Linux and open source, If i didn't like it I wouldn't use it. But it is a question, or a call for advice and support etc

The fact is that most of the time we use switches on my wifes work laptop (winXP)

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