Announcing two open source GNOME assistive technologies

Janina Sajka janina at
Fri Nov 9 18:14:20 EST 2001

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Peter Korn <korn at>


The Sun Accessibility team is delighted to inform you of two open source
assistive technology projects for the GNOME user environment:

   - The GOK project is developing a virtual keyboard for GNOME

   - The Gnopernicus project is an integrated screen reader and magnifier
     for GNOME


The GNOME project includes a desktop user environment: a graphical desktop
user interface and a set of user-interface libraries.  GNOME is commonly
part of Linux distributions (such as those from RedHat, TurboLinux, VA
Linux, etc.) and it will be the standard graphical desktop for future Sun
Solaris workstations and servers.  Also part of the GNOME project is GNOME
Office - a set of office productivity tools (word processor, spreadsheet,
etc.).  GNOME Office will be based on OpenOffice, which is the open source
project through which Sun Microsystems is releasing the popular StarOffice
productivity suite. 

For more information on GNOME, please visit:

For more information on OpenOffice, please visit:

Sun Microsystems is part of GNOME Foundation, and is formally taking the
lead on making GNOME accessible to people with disabilities.  To this end,
Sun is working with the GNOME community in the development of the GNOME
Accessibility architecture, which provides the necessary support for
assistive technologies - and thereby users with disabilities - to use the
GNOME user environment.  

For more information about the GNOME Accessibility Project, please visit:

The GOK project

GOK aims to enable users to control their computer without having to rely
on a standard keyboard or mouse. Many individuals have limited voluntary
movements and must control the computer using alternative input methods.
These input methods may be controlled by actions such as blowing and
sipping to activate a pneumatic switch, an eye  blink and/or directed gaze
with an eye tracking system, head movement, muscle contractions or limb

Using innovative dynamic keyboard strategies, and leveraging Gnome 2's
built-in accessibility framework, the GOK will make control more efficient
for these users, and enable use of the Gnome 2 desktop for some users who
otherwise would have no access to Gnome. With the right hardware support
and the GOK these individuals will have full access to applications that
support the GNOME Accessibility architecture, and therefore, full access
to the functionality these applications provide.

The Adaptive Technology Resource Centre ( is
guiding the Gnome Onscreen Keyboard (GOK) project. The University of
Toronto's ATRC research and development lab not only brings strong
leadership to the project with expertise in alternative input devices and
software, but also a sincere passion regarding accessibility issues. (The
team has already produced a full-featured onscreen keyboard for another

Additional information on the project will be hosted at:

Also please visit the GOK subsection of the GNOME Accessibility project,

The Gnopernicus project

The Gnopernicus project will enable users with limited vision, or no
vision, to use the Gnome 2 desktop and Gnome/GTK+-2 applications
effectively. By providing automated focus tracking and full screen
magnification, Gnopernicus will aid low-vision Gnome users, and its screen
reader features will allow low-vision and blind users access to standard
GTK+2 and Java-based GUI applications via speech and braille output. By
leveraging Gnome 2's built-in accessibility framework, Gnopernicus will
make interacting with applications more efficient for these users, and
enable use of the Gnome 2 desktop for some users who otherwise would have
no access to Gnome. 

BAUM Retec AG ( is guiding the Gnopernicus project.
BAUM has been developing screen reading and magnification software, as
well as other software and hardware products for the blind, for over 20
years.  Their current products include the POET reading machine, the Vario
40, Vario 80, and DM 80 plus Braille displays, the Galileo screen
magnifier for Windows NT, the Virgo screen reader for Windows & Windows
NT, and the Visio low-vision workstation.

More information about Gnopernicus can be found at:

On behalf of the Sun Microsystems,

Peter Korn
Sun Microsystems Accessibility team
access at

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