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Re: [emacspeak The Complete Audio Desktop] Web Accessibility AndUsability: Comin...

Hello David,
David Picón Álvarez writes:
 > The truth is that Emacspeak has some issues that are very hard for blind 
 > users to deal with. One important problem is internationalization. The whole 
 > world doesn't speak English. Emacs was written at a time when 
 > internationalization wasn't a consideration, and modifying it so that it 
 > affords it would be a herculean task, but one that is nonetheless necessary 
 > if it is to be hoped that it will be adopted by non-english-speaking users. 
 > This is not just speculation, btw, many Spanish-speaking potential users 
 > have told me that the language is an important barrier. Jaws, IE, Windows 
 > are internationalized. Orca is internationalized and people are starting to 
 > use it.
 > In addition, I have tried, I really have, and I'm a fairly technically 
 > competent user. I can write code. Yet I find Emacs such a difficult 
 > environment to master. The emacs tutorial doesn't have enough information 
 > and the emacs manual has far too much. Learning to use emacs 
 > competently--and if one wants to use emacspeak efficiently one must be able 
 > to use emacs competently--takes a very long time. Issues with having to use 
 > (or being recommended to use) versions from repositories, that sometimes 
 > break, don't make the experience any better.

Well, here are a few observations from a person who knew nothing about
writing code when he started using Emacspeak.

I had started on linux by  learning  to use Xemacs  rather than Emacs
because I read somewhere on the web that Xemacs is more powerful. At
this point I was not blind but getting there --- I could use 24 pt
typesize fonts and get by.

After I read about Emacspeak and was told by Raman that it would not
support Emacspeak, I switched to GNU Emacs. It was not as difficult as
you seemed to have found. 

Writing for help on the list, I got two very useful hints:

1. Bob Chassels sent me his "Gentle Introduction to Emacspeak"

2. Tim Cross recommended that I read Bob Chassels' Introduction to
Emacs Lisp.

I think that you would find the latter very elementary but certainly I
found it very useful and though I cannot claim to have mastered Elisp,
I have written a few functions which I needed and use them quite

As for internationalization, things are perhaps not as bad as you
think it is. For example the Oralux live CD which comes with a
pre-built Emacspeak in its opening audio menu offers a very wide
choice of languages, including Spanish. I have not tried using
Emacspeak with these languages but I presume any user who knew some
English could start with this CD and get accustomed to the key-chords
that are a characteristic of Emacs/peak.

Also, I believe there is a French version of Emacspeak, elegantly
called Parlemacs.   

 > At this stage, I humbly propose that blaming the user is not the right 
 > strategy, and that some thinking should take place on what is to be done, so 
 > that people can more easily jump onto the emacs toolset, and become 
 > productive users with it. I have a few ideas.

Why don't you tell us/me these ideas. I am not a codeslinger but might
be able to derive some benefit from them, nevertheless.

Wishing the season's greetings to all Emacspeakers,

PS: I have written a couple of books on mathematics using LaTeX and
Emacspeak as the fundamental tools. Does this qualify me as a
productive user?

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