It's not clear that that makes sense for health care, and for health care, you pay the same whether the costs arise as a consequence of your choice or by accident.
If I choose to ride a car, motorcycle, subway, do I pay different costs of I get hurt because of who is at fault? If I choose to take a shortcut home through an "unsafe" neighborhood and get hurt in a mugging do I pay more? I cut code, I develop rsi, I can no longer work. is it my fault for choosing programming as a career? you take a dr prescribed drug that puts on 60 lb and will not come off because of non-reversible biochemical changes? are you at fault for being fat?
We're going to have to cut trillions from the budget just to break even and then to tack on another few trillion to pay for socialized medicine, we will need to cut from somewhere else.
we are already spending twice the most expensive single payer system to service fewer people why do you think we would need to add to out tax burden? take what we are spending today on health insurance, eliminate all but 10% admin overhead and we could have a gold plated health coverage for everybody. starting up means rearranging what we spend on health, not adding to it.
I don't see why the blind or any other group should escape that harshness.
they don't. I've worked for blind people, I've worked for deaf people. I'm disabled as well and we all get no end of crap from tabs (temporarily able-bodied).
I lost roughly 30% of my hand function because I was busting my ass working normal IT programmer hours in a hostile work environment. I was fired from my job, I was denied workers compensation because "it wasn't workplace injury", I've been denied employment because "you can't have any technical knowledge because your hands don't work". I really understand now the discrimination that some women are told they're no longer qualified for the job just because they became pregnant.
I've even been discriminated against by geeks. I need to use proprietary package for speech recognition in order to be able to write and do some command-and-control. there were a few of us that wants to bridge NaturallySpeaking to Emacs but the Breaking with alarming frequency. After explaining the problem to Stallman and a few other fsf types, I was told that the official position of the free software foundation is that the needs of free software come before the needs of disabled people. If that meant that the free software equivalent wasn't going to arrive for a decade, disabled people would have to sit on their hands and wait till arrived or, do without free software that worked with speech recognition. Rather shortsighted, and rather harsh.
As I sometimes say, geeks don't give a crap about accessibility until they become injured and then they can't do anything about it because their hands don't work. They spend a couple of years reinventing and failing with the same solutions that failed for decades in the past and then either they give up and change careers or they fall off the economic ladder.
If we had greater accessibility for all types of disabilities, allow rsi injured, blind and tab programmers to compete on a level playing field by raising us up, not tearing others down, it would be okay for us to succeed or fail because it would be on our merits, not on our disabilities. We still have to deal with the bigotry of hiring managers but that's true for all of us.
The sad thing is, from the work I've been doing with speech user interfaces, I'm coming to believe that it's possible to build a common API to accommodate both text-to-speech and speech recognition user interfaces. With a bit more work, the interface can be expanded to also include a graphical user interface and once you have partition the application into everything else and the user interface, then accessibility becomes cheap, dirt cheap.
If it's open source, why couldn't people with said disabilities adapt it to their own unique needs?
simple. Because the act of writing code is one of the most handicap hostile acts in computer science. Pump your favorite language through a text-to-speech engine. What comes out is complete and total gibberish. It usually sounds like something the old gods would speak if they wanted to assure their own destruction. Since code is neither speakable nor listenable, how would a blind person or a person with an upper extremity disability write code? If it was easy, we would see at least an order of magnitude more blind or hand disabled programmers in the workplace. But we don't the problem hasn't been solved yet. therefore, we need to count on people like you to write code to our needs. Not what you think we need but what we actually need. Far too often I've seen accessibility code written by tabs that had nothing to do with the actual disability and in fact was less accessible than standard keyboards and mice. Want to learn about how bad our systems are for disabled people? Wear a blindfold for a week. Try to set up a Linux system and try to use it. Or, bind your hands into fists and try to use Emacs. That experience will teach you a small fraction of what you need to know. Walk in my shoes for a few years and then we can talk about handicap accessibility design issues.
That's an interesting post. I disagree that RMS isn't about people's freedom - he's just refusing to compromise on the licensing to allow proprietary software to "piggyback" onto GPL code.
that is the sick sad thing. the proprietary accessibility tools are more like a keyboard with feedback or a video card. They're well-defined interfaces that do put a lot of shallow tendrils into a system but those same tendrils are needed anyway for open or closed systems.
I agree that it's a shame that the accessibility components aren't available in GPL form, but he's not affecting your right to use free software, it's just that you may not have the capabilities to use it.
it's not just being denied use it, without accessibility features, you are denied employment opportunities, education, access to online services such as government, industry, social networks etc. effectively, without accessibility, you don't exist in our society and your disability may keep you any job no matter how mind numbingly dull it may be.
The problem with the hybrid solution would be that it opens the door to allowing all kinds of proprietary software to interface with GPL code without respecting the license.
As I said, self-contained module with well-defined interfaces doesn't have this problem. You can interface via network and protocol connection. The bridge could be made out of lgpl code which gets you away from the GPL. This is why I license my work under LGPL and never GPL.
To be honest, I'm not quite sure how a "self-contained" proprietary module can't be used with free software unless it requires to be linked with the GPL code, but if I had to bet money, I'd put it on RMS' interpretation of the GPL. It's a real pity that there aren't more GPL accessibility components, but it's not stopping you from using open source - you just have to go for differently licensed open source (e.g. BSD).
as I pointed out, there's more than one way to communicate between GPL and non-GPL code and usually a couple of them solve the problem. I think the main problem, and this contributes to the lack of accessibility, is that accessibility is not interesting to a developer until they are injured at which point they can't do anything about it and have to leave the field. According to a study I read in 1994, we were losing 30,000 developers are year to RSI. You would think with that volume of injuries, you would see injured developers working with accessibility aids so they can continue to write code. You don't because it's a hard problem and it hasn't been solved yet. one of the complicating factors is that programmers with hands have less than no clue about how to make something work for speech recognition users. They keep coming up with ideas that have been tried and failed for decades and still get offended when pointed the history books and told to "go read". a programming by speech toolkit will take about five years to complete. Other accessibility tools such as speech recognition will take at least 10 years to implement as they navigate the funding, staffing, and patent minefields that exist. I can't afford to wait and neither can anyone else. I've been waiting 15 years and been working on programming by speech issues for 10. we need working solutions now because folks have pissed away at least 15 years in which we could have made a change. don't get caught up in the question of whether or not you can interface proprietary tools to a GPL system and still respect the GPL. The real question is what is more important, supporting human beings who have needs of food, medicine and shelter to become self-sufficient or supporting a software movement which excludes some of the more vulnerable parts of our population. my vote hasn't changed as a result of my injury. The free software foundation has always had a big lack of clue on social areas that matter to people.
history shows that revealing identity is is a surefire way to silence or discredit a critic.
one possible tool might be the use of pseudo-anonymity. A two-way untraceable path between you and the anonymous party. think of it as a disposable identity. The trick then becomes how do I remove any association between me and the pseudo-identity so it can't be traced back to me.
The reason I suggest this tool is because true anonymity is a one-way communications path. Useful for broadcasting information but not interacting with any investigative authority. For example, I was working at a major film producer company that went bankrupt and we were working on a imaging device for nuclear medicine. since it was used a diagnostic setting, it had to pass certain FDA compliance regulations before could be used in a diagnostic setting.
They shipped beta code to sites using the image printer for diagnostics with real patients. A few people complained including not one but two FDA compliance officers within the organization. these people, including the compliance officers are either marginalized or pushed out. If I had a good anonymous channel to the FDA, I would've handed them documentation in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, this company was really good at sniffing out leaks so I didn't dare.
So for lack of true anonymity, a bunch of criminal behavior, or at least unethical behavior went unpunished.
I am not so foolish as to extend a single case to the entire net but, it is a good example, and an extremely common example of not reporting corporate malfeasance because people are not willing to have their careers and financial well-being savaged. Good anonymity support could help that.