Carla Schroeder of wrote a nice piece looking at the important issue of accessibility for people with physical impairments. She does a good job of describing the problem and encouraging the open source community to do better by developing with accessibility in mind.

Schroeder also takes the opportunity to recognize those leaders in the FOSS community who have done the most in this area. Here’s an abbreviated rundown of her picks:

  • GNOME 2 project: Gnome’s significant contributions include complete keyboard control of the desktop, screen magnification, onscreen keyboard, and an open accessibility architecture, the AT-SPI (Assistive Technology Service Provider Interface).
  • The Fedora Accessibility Guide: Fedora always bundles a lot of accessibility applications
  • Vinux:  a complete live Linux distribution optimized for blind and visually impaired users, includes screen readers, full-screen magnifiers, built-in support for USB Braille displays, and optimized fonts and colors.
  • Orca screen reader
  • eSpeak and Festival text-to-speech readers
  • Emacspeak,
  • Julius, a Linux speech-to-text application

Are there other accessibility features and dedicated tools in the Linux and open source community that you know about? Tell us about them in the discussion area.