Linux Foundation releases Windows accessibility software under BSD
The Linux Foundation's Open A11y (Accessibility) Workgroup has announced the release of IAccessible2 for Windows version 1.2 under a BSD licence. The announcement was made at the CSUN Conference, where the change of IAccessible2's licence from LGPL to BSD was described as a way to make it easier to incorporate open source accessibility into proprietary products. The Foundation has also released AccProbe, an apllication which can use IAccessible2 to help developers discover and correct problems in their Windows applications.
Jim Zemlin, executive Director at the Linux Foundation said that “by transitioning to the BSD license and providing important testing tools for developers, the workgroup is demonstrating our commitment to computer access for all”. Andrew Kirkpatrick, Group Product Manager for Accessibility at Adobe, welcomed the move saying "IAccessible2 contains important technological improvements that we plan to incorporate into upcoming versions of Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash Player, and Adobe AIR in order to continue improving on existing accessibility support in these products".
IAccessible2 is expected to become a Linux Foundation standard later in the year. Developed initially by IBM, it was donated to the Free Standards Group in 2006, which merged with OSDL in 2007 to create the Linux Foundation. IAccessible2 extends Microsoft's MSAA, and harmonises it with Unix accessibility APIs and has been implemented in applications including IBM's Lotus Symphony, Firefox 3, JAWS for Windows and Window-Eyes. More information about IAccessible2 is available from the Linux Foundation workgroup site. AccProbe is available as a source or executable from the project's download site.