Twenty years ago, the GNOME desktop received the gift of accessibility from the engineers at Sun. This was a major milestone in the free and open source software world, and contributed to the adoption of GNOME and its underlying technologies. Sadly, the Sun accessibility team was disbanded right around the time GNOME was transitioning between major versions; a lot of historical knowledge was lost in the process, and major stakeholders moved on, leaving the state of accessibility diminished in the platform. In the meantime, the underlying technologies moved on in very different directions than the ones we had at the turn of the millennium: a new graphics stack to replace X11; sandboxed applications; new IPC mechanisms. Accessibility must adapt to the brave new world.
In this presentation I will outline my work on the accessibility implementation provided by GTK, and the changes introduced by the next major API version of the toolkit, 4.0; how these changes impact application developers, and developers of assistive technologies.
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