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RE: Accessible Web Publishing Wizard for Microsoft Office (UIUC)

From: Sesock, Kevin A <kevin.sesock@okstate.edu>
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004 10:33:09 -0500
Message-ID: <D8E17FFA6C2D7447AD72FF9C75E12D4012DB3F@EXE2.ad.okstate.edu>
To: "Jamal Mazrui" <Jamal.Mazrui@fcc.gov>, "Brian Kelly" <webfocus@gmail.com>, "Jon Gunderson" <jongund@uiuc.edu>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

> While I support open source projects in general, I think one of the
main
> problems that would be encountered in this case is that the University
> of Illinois would continue to be contacted for tech support from users
> of a buggy, earlier version.  This has a negative administrative cost,
> even if calls and emails are ignored.  

First of all, I think there are ways to alleviate this, in that if the
University of Illinois open sources the project, names a maintainer, and
basically plays a "Hand-Off" game with it, then they don't have to worry
about it. Using a site such as SourceForge or other separate site to
house the project and its related information (particularly with
different affiliations, different page design so that everyone is aware
that U of I does not have anything to do with it) allows for the current
resource to be used without a whole lot of contact going to U of I.

> It also has a public image cost,
> since people will get negative impressions of the software that are
not
> representative of what it can do in its more developed version.

IBM has recently donated some of their speech-recognition software to
the Apache foundation, and they don't seem too concerned about negative
public image. I think any public image cost that might occur, if the
above mentioned practices were followed, would be outweighed a
hundred-fold by the amazing amount of support and respect the community
would have for the University of Illinois. Heck, I'd be willing to
submit a story to Slashdot. That's sure to generate some interest in the
more mature, developed Wizard 2.0

> For what this software does, create standards-compliant, accessible
> versions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel content, I think the $40 price
> is reasonable.

I don't. Now, don't get me started on Microsoft and their bottomless
stupidity when it comes to accessibility, but why is it that I have to
purchase a tool to obey the law, especially when that tool used to be
free? Especially in most other accessibility cases, there are free tools
out there? Since obviously, our institution's usage of Microsoft
software won't change (and like I have the power to affect that) in lieu
of something better, we need something to meet the end goal of
accessibility. This is the same reason why I'm a Linux proponent. I'm
not going to start spouting off quotes from Gnu.org like some Richard
Stallman acolyte (actually, I think he's a jerk most of the time, even
if some of his ideas are well-developed and highly useful), but these
are some of the common misconceptions I regularly hear of about the open
source model from people who haven't really developed in it before.

Here's an even more bold thought, although I doubt anyone will take it
seriously, and I will gladly accept just focusing on version 1.0 at this
point: How about iCITA open source even 2.0, and instead of charging for
the product itself, charge for support, customizations, and accept
donations for prioritizing enhancements? It's a thought, and it seems to
be working for a lot of other open source organizations.

But, please, if you haven't already figured it out, take my opinions
with a granule of sodium chloride.

Kevin A. Sesock, A+, NET+, CNA, MCSA
Assistive Technology Specialist
2nd Level Support Team
Technology Support Department
Information Technology Division
Oklahoma State University

"Hail to the speaker, hail to the knower; joy to he who has understood,
delight to they who have listened." --Odin


> 
> Regards,
> Jamal
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On
> Behalf Of Sesock, Kevin A
> Sent: Wednesday, October 06, 2004 10:44 AM
> To: Brian Kelly; Jon Gunderson
> Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: RE: Accessible Web Publishing Wizard for Microsoft Office
> (UIUC)
> 
> 
> 
> Just to be clear, I'm not referring to open sourcing the new version.
As
> I'm sure we can all imagine, continued development of the software,
> especially to support such new features and capabilities as what it
> seems they want to do, failing to cover their own costs, especially
for
> technical support, would be downright foolish to ask about them.
> 
> But what are they getting out of version 1.0 right now, other than it
> having take up space in some CVS repository? It's no longer viable to
> them, but it could be a great tool to the community. I don't know who
> would work on it. I don't even know if anyone would care, to be
honest,
> but I think giving the tool to the community would at least give us
the
> chance.
> 
> My concern is that this resource was used A LOT, and linked to by the
> big players in the accessibility world. Now, there's a vacuum for such
a
> tool. Either an open source group can start creating this from
scratch,
> or with the work that the iCITA group did up until version 1.0, have
> somewhere to start so nobody has to reinvent the wheel. I would even
be
> willing to donate what time and development knowledge I have to the
> project (although my .Net skills are rusty, to be honest), and would
> love to make this mature and fix the issues that were present in 1.0
> that caused them to move to 2.0
> 
> It kind of irks me about pulling the hand away from all of us in the
> accessibility community right when it's needed most. This mirrors far
> too many corporate, closed-source, proprietary practices I've seen,
and
> I don't believe this is appropriate for an academic institution, which
> is usually supposed to be about spreading knowledge and furthering
> research.
> 
> But, this is simply my take on the matter. Unfortunately, I don't see
it
> all.
> 
> Kevin A. Sesock, A+, NET+, CNA, MCSA
> Assistive Technology Specialist
> 2nd Level Support Team
> Technology Support Department
> Information Technology Division
> Oklahoma State University
> 
> "Hail to the speaker, hail to the knower; joy to he who has
understood,
> delight to they who have listened." --Odin
> 
> 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Brian Kelly [mailto:webfocus@gmail.com]
> > Sent: Wednesday, October 06, 2004 9:22 AM
> > To: Jon Gunderson
> > Cc: Sesock, Kevin A; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> > Subject: Re: Accessible Web Publishing Wizard for Microsoft Office
> (UIUC)
> >
> > I would agree with Kevin.  After spending time and effort
contributing
> 
> > to the debug bing process in what I expected to be development of a
> > free (if not open source) tool for the wider community I was very
> > disappointed at UIUC's decsion to charge for the software and refuse
> > to supply a free version.
> >
> > I feel they got my feedback under false pretences.
> >
> > Brian Kelly
> >
> > (PS no personal critiicism intended Jon)
> >
> > On Tue, 5 Oct 2004 14:06:50 -0500, Jon Gunderson <jongund@uiuc.edu>
> wrote:
> > >
> > > Kevin,
> > > I don't consider $39.95 to be an outrageous sum for the Accessible
> > > Web Publishing Wizard.  Microsoft Office is a complex application
> > > and to continue to improve the features of the Wizard resources
are
> > > needed to support progamming and technical support.
> > >
> > > Pricing information:
> > > http://cita.rehab.uiuc.edu/software/office/pricing.html
> > >
> > > Version 1.0 is not available anymore because of the many bugs in
it.
> 
> > > The team working on the project only has limited resources for
> > > technical support and it was determined that we could no longer
> > > support version 1.0.
> > >
> > > Jon
> > > Program Manager
> > > Accessible Web Publishing Wizard
> > >
> > > P.S. There are discounts available for multiple purchases and site
> > > licensing options available
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > ---- Original message ----
> > > >Date: Tue, 5 Oct 2004 13:38:23 -0500
> > > >From: "Sesock, Kevin A" <kevin.sesock@okstate.edu>
> > > >Subject: Accessible Web Publishing Wizard for Microsoft
> > > Office (UIUC)
> > > >To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
> > > >
> > > >   This may be old news to many out there, but I didn't
> > > >   see it after searching the archives. It would appear
> > > >   that the Microsoft Office Accessible Web Publishing
> > > >   Wizard from the University of Illinois at
> > > >   Urbana/Champaign is no longer a free tool available
> > > >   to any who need it.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >   Here's the link:
> > > >   http://cita.rehab.uiuc.edu/software/office/overview.html
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >   Of course, they no longer offer the version 1.0 for
> > > >   download, and I can't find any of my copies I
> > > >   downloaded a while back either.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >   My own personal beliefs and philosophies regarding
> > > >   teasing a group of individuals with something free,
> > > >   and then yanking it away to only charge outrageous
> > > >   sums of money aside, are there any alternative tools
> > > >   that anyone has found, preferably for free?
> > > >   Unfortunately, being in a highly de-centralized
> > > >   University in the middle of one of our worst budget
> > > >   crises does not bode well for purchasing tools such
> > > >   as this, especially when the 1.0 version was free.
> > > >
> > > >   Kevin A. Sesock, A+, NET+, CNA, MCSA
> > > >   Assistive Technology Specialist
> > > >   2nd Level Support Team
> > > >   Technology Support Department
> > > >   Information Technology Division
> > > >   Oklahoma State University
> > > >
> > > >   "Hail to the speaker, hail to the knower; joy to he
> > > >   who has understood, delight to they who have
> > > >   listened." --Odin
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Jon Gunderson, Ph.D., ATP
> > > Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology
> > > Division of Rehabilitation - Education Services MC-574
> > > College of Applied Life Studies
> > > University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
> > > 1207 S. Oak Street, Champaign, IL  61820
> > >
> > > Voice: (217) 244-5870
> > > Fax: (217) 333-0248
> > >
> > > E-mail: jongund@uiuc.edu
> > >
> > > WWW: http://cita.rehab.uiuc.edu/
> > > WWW: http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~jongund
> > >
> > >
> 
> 
> 
Received on Wednesday, 6 October 2004 15:33:12 GMT

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