Open Source Software Accessibility

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Deborah

Maybe people have experience with this here. I'm curious if Open Source makes any difference. Especially since, campuses can buy something and theoretically, departments or different schools can take it and modify it and possibly affect accessibility if something started out being accessible, or am I wrong?

Doug

That's an interesting point. My first thought was that it means that if something isn't accessible then people could buy it and build it in.

Deborah

Or make it more accessible, that too.

Doug

Or, it might be fine, well let's customize it this way and they're not aware of accessible and they knock it out.

Deborah

And they inadvertently break something.

Doug

Yeah.

Deborah

I'm curious if anyone has any experience with anything like that.

Penny

San Francisco state is one of the major contributors because they have a really good programmer behind them and he's making it work.

Mark

I think the issue that I'm hearing from the IT community is that there is a bit of distrust about open source adoption because yes, it provides us keys to go in and tweak it as necessary, but there is also the perception that there will be a diffusion of responsibility about coding things accessibly in the first place. Because the company that you're buying software support from, may not necessarily have the resources to program in fixes that may just be predominantly setup to help with implementation. The question is who's going to own, whose going to steward, accessibility for an open source project. There's a governance issue.

Deborah

So, we would need to build that into our projects possibly and say, we're not going to buy that unless you take that responsibility.

Mark

Perhaps, the question is how many places that sell support for open source tools also have the ability to be OK with that contract language. It's untested is basically what I'm saying.

Speaker 4

I don't think many.

Speaker 5

I see people doing stuff like that, custom development. It'd be like another custom development type of thing.

Mark

It could be. On the other hand, a large system, addressing 508 on a large system, could be well outside of scope for a company thinking of custom development as just branding, or adding a work port, if you talk about 508 issues that are at the architectural layer, rather than at the presentation layer, that could really overwhelm the resources of a consulting shop,...at least that's the concern.

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