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Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the linux-on-the-desktop dept.

Bug 266

dotancohen (1015143) writes "It is commonly said that open source software is preferable because if you need something changed, you can change it yourself. Well, I am not an Xorg developer and I cannot maintain a separate Xorg fork. Xorg version 1.13.1 introduced a bug which breaks the "Sticky Keys" accessibility option. Thus, handicapped users who rely on the feature cannot use Xorg-based systems with the affected versions and are stuck on older software versions. Though all pre-bug Linux distros are soon scheduled for retirement, there seems to be no fix in sight. Should disabled users stick with outdated, vulnerable, and unsupported Linux distros or should we move to OS-X / Windows?

The prospect of changing my OS, applications, and practices due to such an ostensibly small issue is frightening. Note that we are not discussing 'I don't like change' but rather 'this unintentional change is incompatible with my physical disability.' Thus this is not a case of every change breaks someone's workflow."

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266 comments

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First things first (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607621)

Re-compile the kernel.

Fix it yourself you (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607639)

Fix it yourself you whiny little bitch. Seriously, this is the awesomeness of open-source. The fix is as fast as you can make it. Done and done. You win!

RMS mentions a comparable situation (3, Interesting)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 4 months ago | (#46607645)

From The Law of Success 2.0 [gnu.org] :

RMS: So if I'm using the free program and I make a change in it, which I know how to do, then I could publish my modified version and then you. Perhaps you're not a programmer; you would still be able to get the benefit of the change I make. Not only that, you could pay somebody to change the program for you, or you could join an organisation whose goal is to change a certain program in a certain way, and all the members would put in their money, and that's how they would hire a programmer to change it.

Re:RMS mentions a comparable situation (2, Informative)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about 4 months ago | (#46607971)

There's one major problem there: most disabled people in the US are living on Supplemental Security Income of $600-850/month, and have no other source of money. Even a group of them are unlikely to be able to pool enough to hire somebody to fix a bug in something like Xorg.

Re:RMS mentions a comparable situation (5, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#46608065)

The open source community is pretty cool. Simply getting together in the right forum would likely get the right people interested in helping you. Hell I'd start with posting to Slashdot... hey... WAIT A MINUTE WE'VE BEEN HAD!!!

Re:RMS mentions a comparable situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46608075)

You must be new here. Google Ulrich Drepper. That's RMS's open source community for ya.

Re:RMS mentions a comparable situation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46608177)

There's one major problem there: most disabled people in the US are living on Supplemental Security Income of $600-850/month, and have no other source of money. Even a group of them are unlikely to be able to pool enough to hire somebody to fix a bug in something like Xorg.

dotancohen (1015143) could approach a charity which works with disabled people and ask whether they would underwrite the cost of hiring a programmer to patch the latest version of X.org to restore the "sticky key" feature.

Re:RMS mentions a comparable situation (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 months ago | (#46608251)

It's like charities don't exist. It's like kickstarter never happened. I feel sorry for the dystopian timeline you left when you joined ours.

go Windows (3, Funny)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 4 months ago | (#46607647)

familiarity with being handicapped.

What did you expect? (-1, Troll)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | about 4 months ago | (#46607653)

What did you expect for "free", free lifetime support as well?

Re:What did you expect? (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 4 months ago | (#46607713)

I think it's reasonable to believe that an Accessibility feature continue to work. And I think it's in the best interests of the Linux community for that to happen.

Re:What did you expect? (2)

quantaman (517394) | about 4 months ago | (#46607869)

It's unfortunately the worst kind of bug in a sense. A feature that affects only a small minority of users but affects them severely.

If some developer or company doesn't have a specific interest in that set of users it's really easy for the bug to get overlooked.

I wonder if this would be a good cause for a disabled rights group. Hire a dev or two to go around fixing/nagging open source projects in an effort to improve accessibility.

Re:What did you expect? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#46607999)

I wonder if this would be a good cause for a disabled rights group. Hire a dev or two to go around fixing/nagging open source projects

Or, alternatively, hire a lawyer, and sue x.org for violating the ADA [wikipedia.org] . That is the American way.

Re:What did you expect? (1)

quantaman (517394) | about 4 months ago | (#46608087)

I wonder if this would be a good cause for a disabled rights group. Hire a dev or two to go around fixing/nagging open source projects

Or, alternatively, hire a lawyer, and sue x.org for violating the ADA [wikipedia.org] . That is the American way.

It sounds like you mostly want to take a shot at the ADA but looking at the link I don't see any mention of software except for the two instances where courts have ruled that websites aren't covered. Is there any precedent for a software project being sued on the basis of the ADA?

Re:What did you expect? (5, Informative)

jrumney (197329) | about 4 months ago | (#46608179)

Read the bug report. The accessibility feature works. The submitter (who also happens to be the bug reporter) found a fairly minor subfeature (the ability for sticky key modifiers to act as lock keys) has been broken recently. I say fairly minor, because the only key this might be critical for in certain use cases is the Shift key, where a separate Caps Lock is already available. Exaggerating the issue by claiming it makes accessibility on Xorg unusable and bitching on slashdot because its been a whole 11 weeks since he found the problem and noone has released a fixed version yet is just grandstanding.

Re:What did you expect? (2)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 4 months ago | (#46608189)

Shift and Caps Lock don't necessarily have the same output!
On my keyboard, shift does 1234567890+ on the top row and Caps Lock does &É"'(-È_ÇÀ)=

It's been bisected and confirmed (4, Insightful)

spitzak (4019) | about 4 months ago | (#46607663)

Somebody has already narrowed the problem down to specific patch:

Comment 7 Peter Hutterer 2014-01-16 05:43:43 UTC

bisected to this commit:

commit 11319a922575f1da1d3c5774728c0dee12bab069
Author: Peter Hutterer
Date: Thu Oct 11 16:03:33 2012 +1000

        xkb: ProcesssPointerEvent must work on the VCP if it gets the VCP

It would help if that number was a link to the git log.

Re:It's been bisected and confirmed (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | about 4 months ago | (#46607703)

Could you create a downstream diff at the distribution level to resolve the bug?

Re:It's been bisected and confirmed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607717)

http://cgit.freedesktop.org/xorg/xserver/commit/?id=11319a922575f1da1d3c5774728c0dee12bab069

Re:It's been bisected and confirmed (5, Informative)

spitzak (4019) | about 4 months ago | (#46607729)

Goddamn that was painful, but I found the actual patch:

http://cgit.freedesktop.org/xo... [freedesktop.org]

I would say it is rather shocking that this Peter Hutterer actually did about 90% of the work, then posted something that is not a clue as to how to see the answer.

And that the original poster (who I assume made this Slashdot story) did not post any followup for 3 months, probably leading Peter to forget all about fixing this.

Re:It's been bisected and confirmed (2)

spitzak (4019) | about 4 months ago | (#46607745)

I'll bet this is going to be patched in the git repositor within a half hour.

But I'm not sure if posting Slashdot stories is the best way to get a bug fixed. But if it is the only one that works, might as well do it.

I still feel the original poster should have put *something* on that bug report in all the time since January 16th!

Re:It's been bisected and confirmed (5, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 4 months ago | (#46607943)

I'll bet this is going to be patched in the git repositor within a half hour.

Reverting would be easy - I'm don't know enough about X to understand if the IsMaster(mouse) test can easily be augmented to not break StickyKeys, but fixing a null pointer dereference is something that needs to be done.

But for just the users' use case (and people will hate this) - this is where paying somebody to deal with the problem for you comes in.

A decent hacker would have done the work you did in the first hour, created a distro patch in the second, and put up a repo with the new packages in the third. Throw in an hour for testing.

It seems likely that there are enough people affected by this that if they all threw in a dollar it would have been done by the next day. What we might have here is a community coordination problem, not just a software bug.

Re:It's been bisected and confirmed (2)

H0p313ss (811249) | about 4 months ago | (#46607987)

fixing a null pointer dereference is something that needs to be done.

FFS... that's the issue?

Screw hiring developers, let's start a kickstarter and hire someone to break the kneecaps of whoever committed the broken code.

Re:It's been bisected and confirmed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46608145)

How about fund a short film: "Developer hit in the groin with a football"?

Re:It's been bisected and confirmed (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607915)

Spitzak your "not post any follow up for 3 months" statement seems to easy to disprove.

https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=73155

Dotan Cohen 2013-12-30 14:46:05 UTC - Original post
Dotan Cohen 2013-12-30 18:46:10 UTC - response same day
Dotan Cohen 2014-01-10 13:25:23 UTC - initial response to Peter Hutterer
Dotan Cohen 2014-02-14 10:20:39 UTC - second response to Peter Hutterer (includes a thank you)
Dotan Cohen 2014-03-21 12:35:54 UTC - inquiry on possible schedule to fix

Slashdot post
Dotan Cohen 2014-03-28 21:34 - public request for assistance

Re:It's been bisected and confirmed (1)

dasunt (249686) | about 4 months ago | (#46607889)

If that patch didn't exist, I'd recommend finding the mailing list or forum, then asking them. Else, check the package maintainer for your distribution, and email them directly.

Re:It's been bisected and confirmed (1, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#46607933)

Peter Hutterer is one of the geniuses of project management who decided it would be better to make things in Wayland. So look at this as a preview for how things will be going in Wayland.

nothing is broken (0)

mexsudo (2905137) | about 4 months ago | (#46607681)

"Should disabled users stick with outdated, vulnerable, and unsupported Linux distros or ..." Older versions may be unsupported, but thry still work. Vulnerable to what? Are you a bank? Give it somr time, patches happen.

Re:nothing is broken (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 4 months ago | (#46607723)

I suspect that we are hearing a little bit of frustration. And surely this is a low hanging fruit -- a lot of positive karma could be had for what sounds like a reasonable amount of programming.

Mmm (2)

Anrego (830717) | about 4 months ago | (#46607683)

I'll give you that this bug carries a tad more weight due to what I would think is a large impact, but the usual "no one is fixing this bug" answers apply:

- do it yourself (I get that this is often not an option, but including for completeness)
- convince someone else to do it
- pay someone to do it
- find some workaround

Re:Mmm (3, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 4 months ago | (#46607707)

I'll give you that this bug carries a tad more weight due to what I would think is a large impact, but the usual "no one is fixing this bug" answers apply:

- do it yourself (I get that this is often not an option, but including for completeness)
- convince someone else to do it
- pay someone to do it
- find some workaround

I think OP is trying to do the second one with this article. Perhaps someone will read this and be embarrassed enough to fix it.

Re:Mmm (3, Interesting)

Sigma 7 (266129) | about 4 months ago | (#46607925)

do it yourself (I get that this is often not an option, but including for completeness)

Sometimes it isn't an option because your fix gets rejected (or left to idle in an obscure bug report)

For example, one build utility had a bug where it checked for the presense of a compiler, but not if it was functional. The fix was rejected because the build utility doesn't check path - despite the fact that it does so for a different compiler. (Explicitly defining which compiler to use defeats the purpose of using said tool in the first place - I'd just use Makefile instead.)

Did you know it took 10+ years for Mozilla to fix the alert() denial loop [mozilla.org] ? That bug is older than Mozilla itself, and the most obvious fix of "checkbox to stop further dialogs" was dismissed as a hack (compared to the destructive hack of force-killing Mozilla.)

As someone who is Handicapped (2)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | about 4 months ago | (#46607685)

I support fixing this bug, Linux has far too many issues with this.

Re:As someone who is Handicapped (3, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 4 months ago | (#46607727)

I agree. Last I heard, we *wanted* people to use Linux on the desktop.

Re:As someone who is Handicapped (5, Funny)

H0p313ss (811249) | about 4 months ago | (#46607991)

I agree. Last I heard, we *wanted* people to use Linux on the desktop.

That's just a rumor that the Gnome guys would take issue with.

Switch to wayland (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607705)

They might not have implemented that bug yet.

What the hell is wrong with some people? (2, Insightful)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#46607733)

So far 13 posts, and most of them are unhelpful drivel.

Way to prove Linux is superior.

Did he mention the system used to work as expected, and now is broken?

If I was a Linux advocate, I'd be ashamed of the community over stupid crap like this situation.

Re:What the hell is wrong with some people? (3, Insightful)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | about 4 months ago | (#46607751)

I am incapable of fixing it. (and I have a Bachelors degree of IT/CS) and I'll assume the person posting can't fix it. An upstanding member of the community NEEDS to fix this. I am ashamed over this.

Re:What the hell is wrong with some people? (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#46607855)

Hi Zombie. Your posts were in the group that wasn't "unhelpful drivel". Sorry if you thought I was attacking you.

My share of outrage grew as I was reading the initial responses, quoting Stallman and saying 'go fix it yourself'. I refreshed the screen before posting, to get an accurate count, and saw your responses then.

I thought about specifying the ones that were or weren't drivel, but decided it would dilute the message, and after 30 more minutes, no one would know which were in those initial groups.

Anyhow, I also have no way to help the situation directly, but hope my geek shaming has a beneficial effect overall.

Re:What the hell is wrong with some people? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607779)

No kidding, eh?

Not the only instance. Here's one from ages ago, identified initially as an accessibility issue:

https://bugreports.qt-project.org/browse/QTBUG-24304

even prodvided test case to demonstrate it. Finally gets a response ~ 1 1/2 *years* later:

"... Believe it or not, we have other priorities (this is actually not the only open bug!) and some of them even support our jobs so that we can continue working on Qt. ..."

This kind of lack of interest in accessibility is why we don't use any Linux on the desktop. Macs & Windows make it a priority.

Re:What the hell is wrong with some people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607817)

Chicken and egg problem.

Accessibility on Linux is a complete mess because there isn't a strong interest in it. A strong interest would come from developers who use accessibility features. Developers with disabilities don't use Linux because accessibility is an absolute mess.

Re:What the hell is wrong with some people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607843)

Point.

But, there's a big difference between "lack of strong interest" and patent disregard, disinterest or disrepect for the challenges.

'nix-land is rife with this attitude. Not wverywhere, but way more common than @ Win/Mac.

Re:What the hell is wrong with some people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607789)

What exactly do you want?

This is an ancient problem. Not this bug specifically, but the general occurrence where a bug that's really causing someone or some group of people grief goes unfixed forever and said person or group feels frustrated by it.

It's what you get when you arn't paying someone for the software. No one "owes" you anything the way they do when you've paid money for the product and not gotten what was advertised / reasonably expected. There's no magical fix to this problem beyond what has been said in those "unhelpful drivel" threads you mentioned (pay or beg someone to fix it). This specific bug will probably get fixed now due to publicity, but there's a tonne more like it.

The open source model has it's downsides, and this is one of them.

Re:What the hell is wrong with some people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607821)

"This specific bug will probably get fixed now due to publicity,"

Well, good! If shaming insensitivity is what it takes, then huzzah!

As for 'paying for it'. Well, WE do -- we've spent lots of money paying Apple and Microsoft for there ongoing support and commitment. ANd, for our money we aget no whining about "We do this for free! What do you expect?" in return.

Problem solved for us.

Patch link posted before your post (1)

gavron (1300111) | about 4 months ago | (#46607823)

Re:Patch link posted before your post (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#46607893)

Even that poster, spitzak, calls the process he went through "painful", and the lack of completion "shocking". I glad the patch is available, and am happy that the people who really need it will be able to get it after upgrading from their unsupported versions of software they been forced to use because of the issue.

By the way, he posted one minute before I did. So while I was typing and previewing my post. And after I refreshed my screen before typing my post, to be more accurate. Don't make it seem like I was half a day behind.

Re:Patch link posted before your post (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 4 months ago | (#46607959)

Typical partisan hack commie; your ticket would bring only serfdom.

I, and any true American lover of liberty, demand a Libertarian president and Green Party vice president! ;-)

Re:Patch link posted before your post (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#46608037)

Typical partisan hack commie; your ticket would bring only serfdom.

Huh? What ticket? I'm talking about Linux, not going to the movies.

I, and any true American lover of liberty, demand a Libertarian president and Green Party vice president! ;-)

OMG!! roflmao

You got me good. :^)

But in the end, you are completely wrong and are the whole reason we can't have nice things. :^P

Re:What the hell is wrong with some people? (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 4 months ago | (#46607921)

Has it occurred to you that not all Slashdot posters are Linux fans? Some of them are a little butthurt about all the Windows bashing.

Re:What the hell is wrong with some people? (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#46608027)

That aspect did occur to me. But the few who seemed genuinely sincere in support of Linux were not any more helpful than the ones who were simply trolling. Only zombie and roc were supportive in a meaningful way. And when I initally saw the article, there were only 8 messages. It went up to 13 when I refreshed the display for more accuracy. Spitzak finally linked to the patch and showed that it was being committed to git, but his initial post, which I saw as I was typing my own post, only showed that there was a bug report. We knew there was a bug report; that's what the story is about.

So, all that fueled my feeling of disgust in the Linux community, and led to my post.

Anyway, thanks for the honest response/challenge. It's good to keep people's feet to the fire.

Re:What the hell is wrong with some people? (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 4 months ago | (#46607945)

Bingo.

So far 13 posts, and most of them are unhelpful drivel. Way to prove Linux is superior.

This thread shows a lot of what is wrong in the Linux community.

.
A significant bug appears, and little is posted besides drivel.

Way to go Linux Community.

Just fix the damn bug.

You fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607979)

Easy to get morally outraged. Just tell me this - whose specific job is it? If you're so ashamed of the "Linux Community" on this, fix it yourself.

Re:You fix it (3, Insightful)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#46608069)

It should be the job of whoever made the change that broke the system a year ago.

We defend Linus going postal on someone for breaking the user interface about music (or whatever that was last year), but are supposed to accept some douche breaking the ability of handicapped people to use their keyboard?? That's fucked up, with no pulling the punches.

I've used Linux various times over the years, and my daughter's laptop has Linux Mint on it. I'm not a programmer or Linux guru, and have never claimed I was. I also don't particularly like how some in the the disabled community have subverted the Americans With Disabilities Act. But I will call bullshit on this type of bullshit every time.

Thanks for the response.

Re:You fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46608229)

Easy to get morally outraged. Just tell me this -whose specific job is it? If you're so ashamed of the "Linux Community" on this, fix it yourself.

Answer: The person who introduced the bug should be held accountable in the sense that person should provide the patch.

Re:What the hell is wrong with some people? (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | about 4 months ago | (#46607965)

So far 13 posts, and most of them are unhelpful drivel.

The worst being the posts that suggest the disabled should cough up the money to pay for a fix or fix the problem themselves. It would be rough justice to put these posters on an SSI budget and see how well they fare.

Re:What the hell is wrong with some people? (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#46608101)

Exactly.

It's not like we are outraged that something in Linux doesn't work quite right. Or that something has never worked quite right. And it certainly isn't something that a 'special interest group' wants added. It was a previously-working feature that was broken for some reason. The /.er that wrote the original story was very candid and reserved, considering the personal nature of what he was addressing.

And the response were "well, that's free software for you", "fix it yourself" "the rms says blahblahblah", and "derp".

We know the first two or three posts are going to be trolls, generally, but every single response was either crap or simply unhelpful overall. If we have to specifically bring geek-shaming into the discussion, I'll do it. It's not like my karma matters when rent is due.

Re:What the hell is wrong with some people? (1)

rk (6314) | about 4 months ago | (#46608205)

If it makes you feel any better, my first reaction on seeing this was "Hmm, let me read the comments and see if anyone has a fix or workaround, and if not, hell, I'm sitting around in hospital bored out of my mind. I'm not familiar with the Xorg code tree, but this would be a great thing to spend a weekend to get my feet wet." I'd like to think that there were at least a few of us out here in the same place (well, maybe not the hospital part ;-)), leaving chuckleheads to post before the people who rolled up their shirtsleeves could say anything. In 2014 I don't consider /. to be quite the locus is used to be for open source developers it once was, but there's still a bunch here.

Glad to see there is a fix that might work already.

Re:What the hell is wrong with some people? (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#46608183)

Still better than the "we pretend to care about our customers, but really care about protecting our image from damage by legitimate complaints" non-committal corporate newspeak that most closed vendors respond with.

pay someone to do it (0)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 4 months ago | (#46607741)

We speak about open source. Bugs can be fixed does not mean you can fix it. If you cannot, then perhaps you could pay someone to fix it?

Re:pay someone to do it (1, Insightful)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about 4 months ago | (#46607981)

I'll repeat my response to someone else above:
Most disabled people in the US are living on Supplemental Security Income of $600-850/month, and have no other source of money. Even a group of them are unlikely to be able to pool enough to hire somebody to fix a bug in something like Xorg.

Use older version.. (3, Informative)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 4 months ago | (#46607749)

Some distros are supported for a long time, like CentOS, Ubuntu LTS and others (I dont' know them) and debian is half-decent with three years.
So it's easy to install a distro based on Ubuntu 12.04, you get support till 2017 so that buys you time till the bug is fixed! (or even some Wayland and graphics driver that work well enough, if the accessibility feature is implemented)

Debian wheezy uses Xorg 1.12.4 (I've just checked) and works till 2016, it has many derivates too (like Crunchbang)
I don't know too much about the rpm world, if not for CentOS, it is dated but has very long support. till 2020.

Re:Use older version.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607901)

It's not that simple. What does a user do when the computer dies and they MUST upgrade? I know ThinkPenguin's hardware oftens got good support for older distributions, but I don't think thats always an option for everyone.

Re:Use older version.. (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 4 months ago | (#46608005)

There are some solutions to that problem. CentOS backports features into older kernels, Ubuntu has the LTS enablement stack, which is included in installation media as Ubuntu 12.04.2, 12.04.3, 12.04.4 etc. In this case though, the Xorg server is updated which is what we wanted to avoid.

Older gens of hardware parts can still be bought new, like a Sandy Bridge Pentium or Celeron, or a 760G motherboard and Sempron 145, or an AMD E-350 Pentium. Graphics cards like Geforce 210 still sold. Tech from 2009 to 2011 roughly. So for a desktop at least, it's very easy to get stuff that should be supported as long as you choose the components yourself (the store can assemble it and ship it for you) ; small "nettop" computers are good to go as well if you choose the right hardware (i.e. not AMD Kabini or Intel 22nm Atom/Celeron)

Re:Use older version.. (3, Insightful)

Just Brew It! (636086) | about 4 months ago | (#46608019)

As the post you replied to indicated, Ubuntu 12.04 is supported until 2017. If this accessibility issue is as serious as it sounds, certainly it will get fixed within the next 3 years?

Contact the Linux Foundation (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607755)

Basically what you want is to escalate this issue so that it gets more attention. As this affects people with disabilities I suspect you may get some results if you try to contact the Linux Foundation [linuxfoundation.org] , who may then be able to twist a few arms or throw some resources at the problem as needed. You could, for example, point this very thread out to "pr@linuxfoundation.com" and let them know that this is a bit of a black eye against Linux.

Re:Contact the Linux Foundation (2)

Endloser (1170279) | about 4 months ago | (#46607805)

This is a very productive post. Thank you for an intelligent answer that will help this person in the future. Teach a man to fish and you feed him forever.

Re:Contact the Linux Foundation (1)

we3 (546328) | about 4 months ago | (#46608103)

I'd probably start by filing a bug report with your distro, it sounds like something release critical. They likely have someone who will be able to fix this bug, and who will be able to get it upstream. They also will be better equipped to test this as they're putting together all the pieces in a distro. They are also probably more end user oriented.

Options (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 4 months ago | (#46607797)

1. Whine and moan.

2. Fix it yourself.

3. Bribe. Offer to send a case of beer (or bag of whatever).

Re:Options (0)

Goetterdaemmerung (140496) | about 4 months ago | (#46607961)

1. Whine and moan.

2. Fix it yourself.

3. Bribe. Offer to send a case of beer (or bag of whatever).

This is a good summary of why people are discouraged to use Open Source. All "options" avoid developer responsibility and quality control. The first solution does nothing. The second is very difficult both technically and socially (making a main branch checkin isn't usually permitted by strangers). The third assumes you know someone and are willing to bribe them to fix what they broke because they have no incentive otherwise.

Re:Options (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 4 months ago | (#46607989)

Nope. You're talking about free (gratis) software, not "Open Source".

Re:Options (1)

Goetterdaemmerung (140496) | about 4 months ago | (#46608077)

Nope. You're talking about free (gratis) software, not "Open Source".

I was talking about the attitude of many projects in my many years of experience, free or not. Lots of asshats. Lots of superiority complexes. Lots of minimizing customer complaints and not properly testing functionality. Blaming the customer is a common trap of shitty development. This thread is full of it.

Re:Options (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 4 months ago | (#46608081)

Crappy software is crappy, "Open Source" or otherwise.

Re:Options (2)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about 4 months ago | (#46608031)

OP seemed pretty clear that #2 isn't an option, and most disabled Americans' income is too limited for a case of beer or equivalent bribe.

I wouldn't consider it whining and moaning when somebody finds a bug that breaks disability accessibility to the point that they won't be able to use their OS without a struggle, politely posts to the bugtracker about it, waits for 3 months while it's ignored, then politely posts to Slashdot asking for suggestions on how to handle it. Instead, I'd say it's maturely pointing out a legit issue and requesting help -- not every mention of a problem qualifies as a whine/moan, especially such a critical problem.

Re:Options (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 4 months ago | (#46608057)

By "whine and moan" I mean make noise to bring attention to the issue.

Linux? Bugs? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607811)

But it's open source. That means there are no bugs.

This wouldn't have happened... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607825)

... on WIndows. See, Linux is broken by design.

I know! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607849)

Send patches.

A few options (5, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about 4 months ago | (#46607873)

So far, we know that Peter caused the change, Peter knows that, and Peter knows how to put it back. Peter isn't sure that it's broken since it now follows the written spec. Ideally, we'd like Peter to fix it, but for that we need to convince Peter that the new behavior is wrong and it SHOULD be reverted. If he chooses to, it will take many seconds to revert the change.

What I'd do next is find the written documentation of the behavior in earlier versions, in Windows, and OSX. YOU said they all work the other way, but the spec says otherwise. So prove your case by linking to written documentation. When you post the links, mention "the principle of least surprise", a term meaning that users should not be surprised by the behavior of the software.

Also, right now ONE person on the planet has said they don't like the new behavior. If EVERYONE in a large group is having a problem with it, a few could post saying so. I'm sure there are forums and such related to accessibility, so ask around. Find out for sure, are other people reall having great difficulty with it? If so, will they post in the ticket?

Then mail Peter and request that he look at it. You could ask how much would be a fair contribution for his time spent looking into it. (Answer - about $20 - $50).

If Peter doesn't respond, email the project maintainer, mentioning that Peter seems to be unavailable and asking that the maintainer look at it.

If those two options fail, that single-line change is so small that any Linux programmer could compile a copy for you with it reverted. It would only take a minutes. Two years from now, if an important update comes out, someone could easily do the same with the new version. Obviously that's less desireable than getting the upstream source fixed, but it fixes YOUR problem.

 

Re:A few options (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | about 4 months ago | (#46607975)

If I'm reading the description of the issue correctly, the problem is that an option that used to modify the behavior of the Sticky Keys feature now does nothing. How is that not a bug, by any stretch of the imagination?

was a fix to make follow the specification (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 4 months ago | (#46608053)

The change was to make it follow the written specification, a bug fix. The reporter is saying that the bug fix wasn't, because he figures the old behavior is better.

I have no idea which way it should work, but the ticket has the submitter expressing one opinion and Peter expressing another opinion. Not long ago, I submitted a fix for a bug in an open source project. It was obviously bug, the documentation said it worked one way, the code did the opposite. I fixed it to work according to the documentation. What is was doing instead was clearly wrong. Suprisingly, the other three developers thought otherwise, and they explained why. So far, there's no evidence that anyone other than the submitter is unhappy with the fix / change.

Re:was a fix to make follow the specification (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | about 4 months ago | (#46608113)

OK, I'm confused. You're saying that the specification states that the "Lock" option is not supposed to do anything?

Re:was a fix to make follow the specification (1)

grahamwest (30174) | about 4 months ago | (#46608267)

The spec in question - http://www.x.org/docs/XKB/XKBp... [x.org] as Peter references in the bug comments - discusses StickyKeys (4.4 on page 9) and strongly implies modifiers only unlatch on key presses; mouse buttons are not mentioned. His change made the code match this reading of the spec. I have a hard time believing that's what the spec writers intended, but if so then KDE's lock checkbox really isn't supposed to do anything.

Re:A few options (4, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 4 months ago | (#46607985)

I do know that even as a non-disabled user, the behavior Peter describes as "per spec" (that is, mouse buttons are not keys for the purposes of releasing the sticky keys) is counter-intuitive since the modifier keys interact with mouse buttons the same way they do with non-modifier keys (ie. Control modifies selection with mouse clicks the same way it modifies selection with the keyboard). Given that normal interaction with both non-modifier keys and mouse buttons, I'd expect instructions about how modifier keys behave to also apply analogously when both non-modifier keys and mouse buttons (but not mouse movements) are involved. Either that or I would expect modifier keys to not interact with mouse clicks the same way they do with regular keys.

good point. Should be in the ticket (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about 4 months ago | (#46608067)

That's a good point. Maybe someone will post it in the ticket.

Pay me to fix it (-1, Troll)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | about 4 months ago | (#46607883)

i'll maintain it for £40kpa sustained across 1 single distro of your choice across its life time.

the choice is yours

Solution: donate to disability development program (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607885)

There is a foundation and distribution specifically working towards disability accessibility in GNU/Linux.

The distribution is Sonar GNU/Linux and the foundation is the Accessible Computing Foundation: http://theacf.co/

Jonathan Nadeau, a blind GNU/Linux user who interned at the Free Software Foundation has made strides in improving accessibility in various distributions. He worked with Rubén Rodríguez (lead developer of the Trisquel distribution) to improve accessibility in one distribution and then ran an indiegogo campaign to raise funds for a new distribution specifically targeted at fixing disability related problems in GNU/Linux. His distribution is called Sonar GNU/Linux. Jonathan Nadeau is also the Executive Director of the Accessible Computing Foundation and Vice President of IAVIT. He also is responsible for the Northeast GNU/Linux Fest. While not disabled or blind I'm proud to have donated a significant amount of money to the project. However more users need to donate. Particularly those with the means to do so. This is one organization that is in particular in need of funds. Often disabled users are not in a position to contribute significant due to accessibility difficulties that limit there means. To improve the means and self-sufficiency of such users more people outside this community need to make an effort to fix it.

If you want these types of issues fixed I'd highly recommend contributions to these organizations and these types of organizations/projects.

How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607905)

Just rollback to when it worked?

Windows and OSX are not free (0)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 4 months ago | (#46607939)

My guess is that you can get the bug fixed for less than the cost of a single license. If this is affecting multiple people,
you can go together and offer even more. My experience is that by contacting the developer, offering a bounty, and/or
using a site like freelancer.com you can get a bug fixed relatively cheap. Many developers have been willing to fix my bugs
for free and even when they do quote me a price it's usually extremely reasonable (in the $50 to $300 range which is about
what a single windows/OSX license would cost). So basically, don't expect free software to always be fixed for free but
if it is actively maintained and you really need it fixed then you can usually get it fixed for less than the cost of switching to
something else.

Re:Windows and OSX are not free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46608039)

Where's the recognition of the value of effort & time that USERS who have to slog through crap to find, understand and document a bug well enough so that some arrogant dev doesn't flame them?

It's always "Blah blah blah I don't develop for free blah blah blah". If *USERS* didn't use the software, provide feedback, bug reports, etc their software would remain the useless heap of spagehtti code that it started out as.

There's all this BS about "community", with no recognition that community builds on valuable contribution from ALL, not just "sainted" devs.

No, contributing is contributing. Using is selfish (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 4 months ago | (#46608185)

This user DID contribute by filing a reasonably good bug report. As to any other users who may or may not think the change is good or bad, if they didn't exist, we wouldn't get their feedback, but we also WOULDN'T CARE what non-existent people think. Therefore, the "contribution" you think they make is null. They express an opinion that matters to them, but if they didn't use the software nothing would be lost.

Authoring software helps other, so that's a contribution to the community.
Authoring documentation is a helpful contribution.
Maintaining the community, such as moderating a forum, is a helpful contribution.
Compiling packages for use with different distributions is a helpful contribution.
Careful, organized testing is a contribution that helps others.
Using the software helps noone but yourself - it's inherently selfish.

You may notice that of the five ways to contribute that I listed, only one requires programming knowledge. ANYONE who can use the software can also learn to use those same features in in an organized, comprehensive way - aka testing. Therefore the idea that "I can't contribute because I'm not a programmer" is false. Anyone saying that either a) isn't well informed about the process or b) is making excuses to be lazy.

It's plainly obvious that using some software doesn't help anyone other than yourself. Having read this post, you are not uninformed about the many ways you can contribute, starting today. So now, you are either headed off to find how you're going to contribute, or you've decided to be selfish. The excuse is gone.

A features, an irksome burdden for most (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46607951)

I'm afraid the "sticky key" behavior is an active burden to most programmers, who are forced to deal with unhelpful popups asking them if htey want sticky keys at the most inopportune moments. Since restoring their effectiveness alleviates a large burden for a few users, but would restore a small burden on over 99% of users, I'm afraid the development community is not going to be eager to restore what is, for most users, a bug rather than a feature in the first place.

Basically, sucks to be you.

Re:A features, an irksome burdden for most (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | about 4 months ago | (#46608003)

X is not Windows. While I do sometimes get the annoying popup on Windows systems, I have never had that issue on my KDE desktop. Even on Windows there's a configuration option in the Control Panel to disable it. So no, it is not a "burden" to anyone, really. Unless you're using Windows (which isn't what this topic was about anyway), and are too lazy to spend 30 seconds on Google figuring out how to disable it.

I'll grant you that maybe Windows should have the feature disabled by default...

Re:A features, an irksome burdden for most (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 4 months ago | (#46608233)

It only buggered me when playing Prince of Persia (the 1989 game) on Windows XP with VDMSound. So, not very much at all.

Re:A features, an irksome burdden for most (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 4 months ago | (#46608151)

I hate that stupid Windows Sticky Keys popup too. Then again I think this is more a problem of OS configuration than anything else.

Re:A features, an irksome burdden for most (1)

seebs (15766) | about 4 months ago | (#46608155)

Except this is totally wrong, because the burden on other users consists of "turn it off if you don't want it", which you only have to do once ever, while the people who need the accommodation are gonna have serious problems without it.

Disability accommodation is a good thing for society. Yes, it can have some costs for other people, but they are small costs and in general we can easily pay them.

beatiful if this slashdot leads to a patch or fork (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46608079)

Hit this subject up again in another month or so

How To Handle Unfixed Linux Bug (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 4 months ago | (#46608137)

Posting a "Ask Slashdot" question may give enough publicity to this bug to have an emotional dev take care of your problem. It seems it's the way to get things done, nowadays. There was a time where open source developers guided by passion were always keen to perform lengthy anti-regression tests and urged to fix main problems. According to the more recent versions of Gnome, Gimp, VLC, ... this time is gone [the Linux kernel being an exception].

XKB Specification is the problem!? (1)

craighansen (744648) | about 4 months ago | (#46608201)

Reading the bug report commentary, it appears there's an error in the specification: http://www.x.org/docs/XKB/XKBp... [x.org] that Peter Hutterer propagated into the code. The specification should be fixed as well as the code. Peter's comments about the change also discuss a null-pointer dereference problem - I'm not clear how that is related to the change - and therefore whether reverting the change is the complete solution.

The specification appears to be dated 1997-12-15, so all this is blowback from 16-year-old specification error.

Having seen plenty of serious bugs sitting unfixed in bug reports for years and years, I don't think the problem of enormous bugfix latency is particularly related to or limited to acccessibility issues.

Fairly simple really... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46608213)

Stop using linux. Linux < *

yes, better switch to something else (2)

stenvar (2789879) | about 4 months ago | (#46608257)

The bug was reported in December 2013, and expecting a three month turnaround from a free project for bug fixes is a bit much. There are plenty of older distros that are still supported and work, so the sky isn't falling. And, believe me, recent Linux distros break plenty of people's user interfaces in plenty of ways that are just as inconvenient as not having sticky key work may be to you. In addition, if you really care, you can write a user-mode program to give you the same functionality.

So, my suggestion is: just switch to Windows or OS/X. I'm sure those commercial systems will give you bug fixes with three months turnaround. You deserve the kind of service and support that Microsoft and Apple give you!

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