Oracle Lays Off Accessibility Leader

Feb 11, 2010

The leader of the Gnome accessibility team, Will Walker, has until now worked for the Accessibility Program Office from Sun, which after the Oracle take-over melted into the relevant APO at Oracle.

As Walker writes on the Orca mailing list, from now on he will be working on the Gnome project's accessibility ambitions and on Orca in his spare time only, and depending on his new job, might have to give up the work completely. In an open letter to Oracle, Joanmarie Diggs, who works on the screen reader Orca from the Accessibility Program Office, has expressed her concern about the future of the Gnome A11y team.

"I truly hope this was an oversight on Oracle's part, and one that will be rectified very soon. Because if it is not, and if no other company steps forward to continue this work, the accessibility of the Gnome desktop will become the open source equivalent of an unfunded mandate, doomed ultimately to fail. Oracle's decision threatens to leave many individuals with disabilities around the world without access to a modern desktop environment. I find that tragic."

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