[Linux-aus] comment for an article on Government website accessibility

Sridhar Dhanapalan sridhar at dhanapalan.com
Wed May 27 09:25:50 EST 2009

2009/5/26 Mike Carden <mike.carden at gmail.com>:
> Hi Dahna.
>> less than five per cent were in RTF.
> Zero percent RTF would be good, but getting down to five is a step in
> the right direction. RTF is a bad, bad proprietary format that is
> rarely rendered the same way twice by any two pieces of software. Even
> software from the format's originator is inconsistent with it.
>> In contrast, over 95
>> per cent of the documents examined in 2008 were in PDF, being a
>> proprietary software format.
> Well, no it's not really. PDF 1.4 is a fully documented and non
> proprietary ISO standard:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDF
> Many, many free implementaions of PDF viewers are out there:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_PDF_software#Viewers

Indeed, even the Free Software Foundation Europe encourages the use of PDF:


> What would be nice would be all government web sites being standards
> compliant in their HTML and browser agnostic.

Again agreed.

"Accessibility" can mean many things, and it is important to
understand the different perspectives. To name a few that are more
relevant to us:

a) open standards
b) open source
c) usable by people with disabilities (compatibility with screen readers, etc.)
d) easily readable in an affordable manner

We will make the most progress if we focus on the existing legal and
regulatory frameworks and guidelines. There are regulations governing
c, and I would hope that d is a goal of government. The best way to
achieve these is a. b is the best means of reaching and maintaining a,
but not strictly necessary.

Bring choice back to your computer.

More information about the linux-aus mailing list