What is the best distro for my business manager?

marbux marbux at gmail.com
Tue Nov 27 02:11:37 UTC 2012

On Sun, Nov 25, 2012 at 11:00 PM, John J. Boyer
<john.boyer at abilitiessoft.com> wrote:
> Well, I'm wondering if LibreOffice on 6.3 is accessible and whether it
> will be difficult to get Orca working on that OS. So it would be nice if
> you test those things.

I'm not the best person to test Orca. I've never used it and don't
understand Braille. (I'm low vision and so far have got by with

But I don't think it will be a problem for the following reasons:

1. Orca is on the package list for Red Hat Enterprise 6.x.
<http://tinyurl.com/ct6wdej>. CentOS is Red Hat Enterprise with only
the Red Hat trademarks and art changed.

2. Orca was developed  under the leadership of the Accessibility
Program Office of Sun Microsystems, Inc. (now Oracle), working from
the concept and prototype developed by a blind Sun programmer named
Mark Mulcahy. Sun had very strong accessibility integration emphasis
in all of its apps, which included OpenOffice.org, from which
LibreOffice was later forked.

3.  OpenOffice.org had a few remaining accessiblity warts at the time
that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts proposed to specify
OpenDocument Formats as the only formats to be used in state
government for word processing. Microsoft responded to that proposal
by mobilizing the accessibilty community to oppose the proposal
because of the few remaining accessiblity warts in OpenOffice.org and
the OpenDocument Formats.

That sparked a major effort by the OpenDocument Formats technical
committee (I was a member at the time) and by Sun (under the
leadership of its accessibility executive Peter Korn (a blind
programmer himself) to clear the accessibility warts in both the
OpenDocument formats and in OOo. (This was the reason for the release
of OpenDocument Formats v. 1.1.)

3. The fork of LibreOffice from OpenOffice.org occurred a couple of
years later, when Oracle acquired Sun and almost immediately ended
support for OOo and ODF. IBM had been recycling OOo code in its
programs pursuant to a license it had obtained from Sun Microsystems.
But that was no longer workable because the project was dead and IBM
did not have commit rights to add new code to the source code. OOo
became a dead project for nearly a year, until IBM persuaded Oracle to
deed the source code to the Apache Foundation, where the new project
would license source code under the permissive Apache license rather
than the LGPL. This was important to IBM because all of its relevant
software using ODF was proprietary closed source. To recyle the OOo
code in its products, needed OOo to be licensed under a permissive

4. Meanwhile, LibreOffice development proceeded and added new
features, whose code cannot be used in OpenOffice.org because of
license differences. However, any patches added to OpenOffice.org can
be applied to LibreOffice because of the permissive Apache license.
This situation practically guarantees that LibreOffice will stay out
in front of OpenOffice.org in terms of software quality and featues.

5. Because of such factors and because LibreOffice is licensed under
the LGPL, which requires that all distributed modifications be
contributed back to the community whereas the Apache license allows
modifications to be kept proprietary and secret, most distro
developers have either switched to LibreOffice or are planning to.
LibreOffice is FLOSS, whereas OpenOffice.org no longer is.

6. Since version 2.16, Orca has been part of the Gnome desktop, which
is what is used in the default Red Hat Enterprise and CentOS v. 6.x

7. So in sort there shouldn't be any accessibility issues with using Orca and
LibreOffice on CentOS 6.3.

Best regards,


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