commercial product for access to X Windo

From: Curtis Chong > (
Date: Mon Mar 14 1994 - 19:06:45 PST

D. Curtis Willoughby >


The following was forwarded to me by Mark Novak of the Trace R&D
Center. I myself do not have statistics in terms of how many
screen reading systems are purchased for or by the blind. Nor do
I know how many X systems are likely to be purchased. I do know,
however, that the need is great. We do need a commercial X Windows
access package. So, anything any of you can do to help would be
great. By the way, I intend to write my own letter of support as
well, in my capacity as president of the NFB in Computer Science.

Here is the information.


Date: 14-Mar-94 16:04 CST
Subj: commercial product for access to X Windows - help needed!

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Date: Mon, 14 Mar 1994 16:12:00 +0000
Subject: commercial product for access to X Windows - help needed!


Thought your group might wish to assist, so I am forwarding the following.


>We're in the process of writing (yet another) commercialization grant
>for Mercator. The goal of the proposal is to produce a commercial
>system (called Sonic X) which would provide access to Motif
>applications on Unix workstations for users who are blind. Sonic X
>would make use of the access hooks in X Windows which were (in part)
>developed by us at Georgia Tech.
>This funding is internal to Georgia Tech, and therefore we're not
>competing with other groups writing access systems. We're looking for
>any information which will help make our proposal stronger and more
>complete. Specifically we're looking for answers to the following
>1) What is the status of other systems to provide access to X Windows
>for blind users? I know that both IBM and Berkeley Systems have also
>been working diligently in this area.
>2) What are some market statistics for Unix workstations? How many
>workstations did [Sun, DEC, IBM, HP, ...] sell last year?
>3) What are some market statistics for other screen readers which
>provide access to graphical interfaces? How many people use Screen
>Reader II, OutSpoken, Window Bridge, other systems which provide
>access to Windows? This information can be sent confidentially to me
>if necessary. Likewise, what are some sale figures for other screen
>readers that provide access to ascii interfaces?
>4) What are some figures on the number of blind computer users who need
>access to Motif or will need access in the next 3-5 years?
>Generically, what are the figures for blind people in the computer
>industry, those working in the public (government sector), or simply
>employed or employable (ages 18-70)? Any idea how many college
>students are blind?
>5) How are screen readers currently sold? To individual users? To
>corporations concerned with ADA compliance? Does IBM bundle its access
>software with other software?
>Again, ANY help will be greatly appreciated. Georgia Tech (like many
>other commercial and educational institutions) still needs an education
>about the need and widespread use of screen reader software. Although
>I have some good guesses on these questions, current information from
>the source will be much more useful. While we have done a great deal
>of work in this area and can show evidence of outside support (thanks
>Sun and NASA), competition for these grants is very stiff!
>On another note, if you or your company is in need of a screen reader
>for X Windows, letters of support for this work can be sent to the
>reviewers at Georgia Tech. Likewise if your company would be
>interested in licensing the commercial product from Tech (and then
>selling it with your other products), this would be an excellent time
>to express your interest. These letters of support are non-binding.
>They don't commit you to purchasing or buying anything. They simply
>educate the reviewers that there is a viable market for this software,
>and, more importantly, that there is a real need to have something out
>there as quickly as possible. The letters should cite the Mercator
>project directed by Elizabeth (Beth) Mynatt and the commercialization
>proposal for Sonic X.
>Letters of support can be sent to:
>Sheila Stanley
>Advanced Technology Development Center
>Faculty Research Commercialization Program
>430 Tenth Street, NW, N-116
>Atlanta, Georgia 30318
>Feel free to forward this request to other appropriate forums.
>Information about the Mercator project can be obtained via anonymous
>ftp from "". Simply ftp to that site, login as
>"anonymous" and browse the directory "papers/Mercator."
>Many thanks!!
Mark E. Novak
Trace Research and Development Center
Waisman Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1500 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53705-2280

Bitnet Address: novakme@wiscmacc
Internet Address:


Cordially, Curtis Chong

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