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RE: Baseline capabilities

From: m. may <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 16:18:10 -0700 (PDT)
To: Dick Brown <dickb@microsoft.com>
Cc: "'Charles McCathieNevile'" <charles@w3.org>, WAI GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.96.1001017160632.16871z-100000@jackie.bestkungfu.com>
Win95 OSR2 is still standard issue in a lot of larger companies...

If I had to draw baseline operating systems, I'd go with Win95, NT 4, Mac
OS 7.5.5, and Linux kernels 2.0.36+. The first two are common among older
PCs and slower corporations, respectively, and the latter two are both
freely available online. Further, Mac OS 7.5.5 runs on 68030 systems,
while Mac OS 8 only runs on the 040 and up, and 8.6 (I think) is

The only real limitation that I see by dropping OS requirements back to
four- or five-year-old OSes is that Win95 (OSR 2+) has poor USB support,
while NT 4, System 7, and Linux 2.0 have none at all. If any enabling
technologies require USB, then the standards would have to be Win98 or ME,
Win2k, OS 8, and Linux 2.2 kernels, which is not terribly realistic.


On Tue, 17 Oct 2000, Dick Brown wrote:

> I think using 5-year-old Win95 is stretching. On the other hand, I can't say
> for a fact how much difference it makes, as many (most?) apps that work on
> Win98 work fine on 95 as well.
> Also, while you went with an old version of Windows, you went with the
> newest version of NT (Win2000).
> Dick Brown
> Microsoft
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Charles McCathieNevile [mailto:charles@w3.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 3:13 PM
> To: WAI GL
> Subject: Baseline capabilities
> One of the things we have struggled with again and again is the "until
> technology X is widely impemented, use some nasty hack".
> On the one hand, Accessibility in theory is no good to people if they can't
> actually make use of it themselves.  On the other hand, this can lead to a
> problem of developers not putting a high priority on new features that will
> improve accesssibility, since there is no market for them becuase everyone
> is
> relying on the old method anyway. So the situation doesn't improve very
> fast.
> In addition, it is often harder for people with disabilities to actually go
> about upgrading and learning a new version of software (or a new tool
> entirely).
> And as a group, we do not, as far as I can tell, have a consensus on what
> can
> be done reliably with CSS, or when it will be acceptable to rely on
> Javascript. We don't even have a method for finding an answer to the
> question
> "is CSS implemented widely enough to require its use for specifying fonts?"
> So I think we first need to work out how to answer such questions in
> general,
> and then to apply our method to some specific things we need to know (can
> the
> Java Accessibility Bridge be relied on? When will SVG be a reasonable
> solution?). This will give us some good test cases as well as some
> information that we need to establish.
> So I propose the following:
> A technology is considered to be sufficiently implemented when it is
> implemented in at least two free products available that meet the following
> conditions:
> 1. There must betwo such products available for each of
>     - Windows 95
>     - Windows 2000
>     - MacOS 8+
>     - Unix (must include linux)
> 2. They must be known to be usable with at least two speech output systems,
> including one free one where that is available.
> 3. They must work with standard keyboard modifications (including modified
> keyboards) and one voice input system.
> 4. The products must have been available for at least 6 months.
> Note that this can apply to partial features of a technology. For example,
> it
> might be possible to state that CSS font and colour control are sufficiently
> implemented, but CSS behaviour and layout control are not.
> Cheers
> Charles McCN
> -- 
> Charles McCathieNevile    mailto:charles@w3.org    phone: +61 (0) 409 134
> 136
> W3C Web Accessibility Initiative                      http://www.w3.org/WAI
> Location: I-cubed, 110 Victoria Street, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
> September - November 2000: 
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Received on Tuesday, 17 October 2000 19:18:17 UTC

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