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Concern About Proliferation of Open Source Screen Reader Projects

May 13, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

I have just read another message on one of the blind community e-mail lists concerning the initiation of yet another open source screen reader for Windows. That makes two projects purporting to be working on the same goal: the creation of a free, user friendly open source screen reader for Windows. While I fully realize that two doesn’t amount to a “proliferation” of such projects per se, I am concerned nonetheless. Resources are extremely limited, especially in the blind community. I’m not sure the “market” will handle two open source screen readers. One project will receive much more attention than the other, while the constant reinventions of the wheel, so to speak, will result in much needless duplication of efforts. Let’s consider combining both existing open source Windows screen reader projects into one and encourage others with similar ideas to join the existing efforts. Anyone have thoughts on this?

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2 opinions on “Concern About Proliferation of Open Source Screen Reader Projects

  1. I think you’re missing the point here. It’s about choice. There are several open-source linux screenreading projects–speakup, Oralux, EmacsSpeak, just to names some off the top of my head. The more the merrier, I say. Why should it be any different in Windows than Linux? Similar arguments could have been made with respect to commercial Windows screenreaders–not everyone is happy with JAWS; that’s why there is Window Eyes, Hal and a bunch of others.

  2. I agree with the last comment, the more the merrier. There are millions of people who will benefit around the World. Open source developers also work in that realm because they want the freedom to follow their inspiration. Forcing them to work together is not the way to get the best out of them. Hopefully, some of them will improve and innovate current methods and also listen to feedback. Oh, and standardize, simplify and un-monetize access!

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