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Fedora 16

Accessibility Guide

Using Fedora with a visual, hearing, or mobility impairment

Fedora Documentation Project

Fedora Documentation Project

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This document describes some of the hardware devices, applications, and utilities available to assist people with disabilities to use a computer with the Fedora operating system.

1. Introduction
2. Why should people choose Fedora as an accessibility solution?
2.1. The Section 508 Mandate
2.2. The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)
3. Available open source tools, utilities and drivers
3.1. Hardware
3.2. Software
4. Screen Readers
4.1. Orca for GNOME
4.2. Jovie for KDE
4.3. Speakup
4.4. Using Emacspeak with Fedora
5. Screen Magnifiers
5.1. KMagnifier
5.2. GNOME Magnifier
6. Mouse Tools
6.1. KMouseTool
6.2. Mousetweaks
7. On_Screen_Keyboards
7.1. GNOME On-Screen Keyboard
7.2. Indic Onscreen Keyboard
7.3. Florence
7.4. Caribou
7.5. Dasher
8. Other tools
8.1. Using BRLTTY with Fedora
8.2. KMouth
9. Help for Linux Desktops
9.1. KDE
9.2. GNOME
9.3. XFCE
9.4. Sugar: Making computing accessible for children.
10. Finding more information on Linux accessibility
11. We Need Feedback!
A. Revision History

1. Introduction

There are approximately 500 million people worldwide with some kind of visual, hearing, or mobility impairment. Currently there are over 54 million people with disabilities in the United States alone and that number is significantly increasing as the baby boomer generation continues to age. People with disabilities often find it extremely difficult to effectively use existing and emerging technologies which are often designed without regard to their needs. Websites with inaccessible content can also be problematic for screen readers and other specialized devices used by the disabled community.
Accessible features have been voluntarily integrated into operating systems, web interfaces, and other technologies because of marketing potential or because it has been "the right thing to do." Equal access to educational, professional, and recreational technologies is rapidly becoming a legal requirement. Federal agencies in numerous countries are formulating accessibility standards. Federal requirements in the United States went into effect in June 2001.
Specialized hardware devices, applications, and utilities are available which considerably increase the usability of Linux for individuals with special needs.