Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Friday, January 27, 2006

ODF's Biggest Disability

Wider acceptance and adoption of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) faces one major hurdle -- access for people with disabilities. This must be addressed quickly for ODF to take advantage of its head-start on Office Open XML. Access for disabled people is a deal-breaker for ODF. Without it, ODF is dead in water, politically. Fortunately, the issue is being addressed . . .

Andy Updegrove recently offered an update:

Disability issues: The ability of ODF to match, or surpass, the capacity of MS Office to accommodate those with disabilities remains an important test for implementation. Last week, Thomas Trimarco, the Massachusetts Secretary of Administration and Finance, delivered a [message] to representatives of the community of persons with disabilities stating that an evaluation will be made in mid 2006 to determine whether applications supporting ODF are likely to provide an acceptable alternative to MS Office for State employees with disabilities. If that need is not met by mid 2006, then the effective date of ODF implementation will be lagged as necessary until it is judged adequate to this task.

Meanwhile, work continues within OASIS to give final approval to and launch the new working group which will be chartered to facilitate use of applications supporting ODF by those with disabilities.

1 comment:

Sam said...

I urge people to imagine what happens when office suite and interface alternatives (GNOME or KDE) ARE better or complete in their integration with Assistive Technologies. (This, after all, was work that needed to take place.)