Open and Accessible

Rikki Endsley

ROSE Blog: Rikki's Open Source Exchange

Nov 02, 2009 GMT
Rikki Kite

One of the many things I love about working in the world of open source is that this field is much more about passion than profit. Think of how many extra hours you or your friends and colleagues put in on nights and weekends (and occasional holidays). You don't do that for just a "Job".

I'm excited to work in a field full of people who are so aware of – passionate about – accessibility issues. On one hand, we have access to the most cutting-edge technologies, but on the other hand, we are working on ways to improve and deliver this technology to people who might not have the same access – people with disabilities, or in rural parts of the world, or lower-income families and schools, and so on. I'm always mindful that even in our own neighborhoods there are children and adults who simply don't have access to what we might consider necessities in our own lives, including cell phones, email, and the Internet. I've been that low-income child, and I've been that single mother who had to pick between hot water and the wonderful world of the web.

Today I ran across a recent blog post by Emma Jane Hogbin called Making our passion accessible. She says, "Whether it's fear or finances or some other barrier, I am passionate about leveling the playing field for people who feel left out."

It made me think of ways I help make what I'm passionate about more accessible, and how our magazines can provide content to people who might not be able to buy issues on the newsstand or subscribe. There simply are not enough hours in the day for me to write everything I want to write, interview every person who inspires me, or attend every community event in our field. I'm sure you can relate.

But when I step back and look at all the individual pieces we contribute – like when Emma takes the time to teach some elderly people how to get a handle on their gadgets, or when ZaReason works with volunteers to refurbish and donate 16 computers to Kids on Computers, or The Apache Foundation works with partners to provide live streaming for FREE to people who can't make it to ApacheCon US this year, or Google's amazing outreach with the Google Summer of Code – I see that our small parts are actually increasing accessibility in a big way.

What other accessibility stories inspire you?

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