Free Software and Accessibility

Yesterday, I saw a link to this blog post (Paul Cutler, Paul Cutler's Blog) that also linked to this Bugzilla bug report comment regarding an accessibility issue in Eye Of GNOME, GNOME's default PDF and other file viewer. The suggestion was to add a menu entry in the "Edit" section of the main menu allowing users to copy recently loaded images in the document to the clipboard. A user by the name of Adrian Hands was the one who submitted the patch. But he was no ordinary user; as he suffered from ALS (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease), he could barely use a keyboard, so he needed alternative methods of input. Yet, even in his last days of life suffering from a truly debilitating disease (he passed away a few weeks ago), he was not only able to make his own computing experience better but he was able to share the fruits of his work with others.
This is why I really enjoy using free software — not just for the cost or the security benefits, but for the nearly-unlimited ability to customize software, the incredible community, and the great culture of sharing to make the entire user experience better. My heart goes out to the family of a true hacker.


  1. what a guy!
    Totally amazing!

  2. @Anonymous: Absolutely. It's a really inspirational story. Thanks for the comment!