[guispeak] Re: Firefox 1.0

  • From: "Laura Eaves" <leaves1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <guispeak@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 9 Nov 2004 13:27:50 -0500

Hi -- This is very interesting -- I know a few people using firefox and love 
it, but none are visually impaired.
However, in order to work effectively with jaws or WindowEyes, it has to use 
MSAA to pass info to the screen reader.  The MSAA interface is supported in 
libraries for the various programming languages on vs.net (the Microsoft 
programming environment platform), but I don't know how to use it.
It would be an interesting project to add MSAA hooks to firefox and 
distribute the source.
Now as for linux versions, I am not familiar with how screen readers handle 
browsing there.
I used to do hacks and bug fixes on lynx a long time ago, but quit and moved 
to windows when I foundout how much better screen readers had become.  Now I 
haven't been on unix/linux since I lost the rest of my vision, but know many 
blind persons who work heavily there with screen readers that have also come 
a long way.
So when I have enough money to get a linux box I may get one -- maybe next 
Feb or March.

Anyway, I once purchased a program called "secure IE" -- a web browser put 
out by McAfee that is supposed to guard against all the malicious hacks some 
people put on web pages.  But it was not accessible at all, and I went back 
to IE.  So MSAA is important.
But the proof is in the pudding.
If anyone does try the windows version of firefox with a screen please post 
and let me know what you find -- and I'll do the same!
Take care!

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bundy, Keith" <Keith.Bundy@xxxxxxx>
To: <guispeak@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>; <vicug-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, November 09, 2004 1:00 PM
Subject: [guispeak] Firefox 1.0

> Below is an article that appeared a few days ago.  I am wondering if
> anyone has already tried this program with a screen reader.
> Free Firefox 1.0 ready to battle MSIE
> By Joseph Menn
> Los Angeles Times
> published: 11/9/2004
> Early editions of browser have lured 10 million former Microsoft users
> Get ready for Browser Wars: The Sequel.
> Six years after Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer defeated Netscape
> Navigator in the signature fight of the online age, a direct descendant
> of the pioneering
> Web browser is exacting a small measure of revenge.
> The nonprofit Mozilla Foundation today will release Firefox 1.0, a free
> browser based on Netscape's technology but improved through the years by
> thousands
> of volunteer programmers. It's the first version intended for a wide
> audience.
> Earlier editions of Firefox attracted millions of users fed up with the
> viruses and spyware that increasingly exploit Internet Explorer's flaws
> to infect
> computers.
> After a series of security warnings this year, Explorer's share of the
> U.S. browser market slid from more than 95 percent in June to less than
> 93 percent
> last month, according to Internet consultant WebSideStory. Most of those
> computer users went to Firefox.
> A drop of a couple of percentage points may not sound like much, but
> globally, it represents more than 10 million people who have dumped the
> world's largest
> software maker in favor of an outfit with 10 full-time employees.
> It's part of a broader move toward so-called open-source software, which
> has Microsoft on the defensive. In the most visible part of that trend,
> many big
> corporations and everyday users alike are powering their computers with
> the free operating system Linux, encroaching on Microsoft's lucrative
> Windows franchise.
> Browsers have been free for a long time. But analysts say Firefox has
> special significance because it could open many more eyes to the
> possibilities of
> open-source software.
> Users like Firefox because it works about as fast as Explorer, adds
> features such as multiple-window browsing and presents a less tempting
> target for hackers.
> Users also can change the way it works, for example, by barring all
> images so that the text on Web pages appears more quickly. Most but not
> all sites can
> be visited with Firefox.
> "It's actually quite intuitive, and it's very fast," said Shekhar
> Venkataraman, an intensive-care doctor in Pittsburgh who has been using
> the Mozilla browser
> for more than a year.
> Milton Blackstone, a retired TV writer and producer, said he turned to
> Firefox after he became fed up with Explorer's frequent unexplained
> crashes. Although
> he complained he has had trouble following Web links in e-mails,
> Blackstone said he was glad he made the switch.
> "I think it's thought-out," said Blackstone, a resident of the San Diego
> community of La Jolla. "I have a lot of respect for Mozilla."
> As with Linux, the complicated computer code powering Firefox is freely
> available for any programmer to examine, improve and pass along. Fans of
> open-source
> software say that sort of continuous review makes the programs stronger
> and more reliable.
> Because anyone can read the Firefox code, hackers could create malicious
> programs the way they do with Explorer - and some have. But because
> thousands of
> volunteer programmers also can see any potential problems, they can
> respond quickly to plug security holes.
> "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow," says Eric Raymond,
> president of the nonprofit Open Source Initiative, which promotes the
> development and
> distribution of open-source software.
> Firefox grew out of a 1998 project at Netscape Communications Corp. to
> make the browser's underlying code public. It was released in a preview
> version in
> February and has been downloaded from www.mozilla.org as frequently as
> 250,000 times a day.
> Keith Bundy
> Director of Student Development
> Dakota State University
> 605-256-5121
> Email: Keith.Bundy@xxxxxxx
> http://departments.dsu.edu/bundyk

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