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Some discussion points for issue 294

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2000 17:07:17 -0400
Message-ID: <3991C805.BFA50A7D@w3.org>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
CC: tantek@cs.stanford.edu
Hello,

Issue 294 [1] (raised by Tantek Çelik, cc'd here) is about the scope 
of "native support" and its relation to dynamic updates to software.
Does the definition of native support allow the user agent 
to download modules (that will promote accessibility) from the Web? 
Here is the relevant excerpt from the 28 July Guidelines [2] 
definition of native support:

<BLOCKQUOTE>
   A user agent supports a feature natively if it
   does not require another piece of software (e.g.,
   plug-in or external program) for support. 
   Operating system features adopted by the
   user agent to meet the requirements of this
   document are considered part of native support. ...
</BLOCKQUOTE>

As is, the definition seems to clearly indicate that downloadable
modules could not be considered native. Here are some notes
on the topic for our discussion this week:

1) Does native support require that a feature be part of 
   the user agent by default? If a user agent feature that
   promotes accessibility is available on the install CD
   but is not installed by default, does that mean that
   it is not supported natively? If "by default" is considered
   part of native support, the document needs to say so.

2) (This point is important for those who think that native
   support does not imply "available by default"): What's the
   difference between installing from the Web and installing
   from a CD?

3) Jon Gunderson and others have pointed out that users cannot
   always install new software or features or modules (e.g., when
   they work in a public environment such as a library). This
   argument is not limited to accessibility issues: a user agent
   may be unusable for any number of reasons related to lack of 
   resources. It's the responsibility of the systems team in this
   particular case to ensure that the software is usable. Does this
   mean that it's inacceptable to say "get these modules from the
   Web" just because some users don't have access privileges to
   install those modules? I don't think that that's an accessibility
   issue.

4) If the UA includes a documented feature that allows users 
   to get and install modules that provide accessibility features
   at the "click of a button", would that count as native support?
   What if this is used as a way to get accessibility features into
   deployed browsers (rather than having to wait for a new release)?

5) If downloading modules is considered acceptable in some
   circumstances, the UA must already be accessible enough
   to allow users to  download those modules.

 - Ian


[1] http://server.rehab.uiuc.edu/ua-issues/issues-linear.html#294
[2] http://www.w3.org/WAI/UA/WD-UAAG10-20000728
-- 
Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel:                         +1 831 457-2842
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Wednesday, 9 August 2000 17:07:26 GMT

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