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Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs? 266

Posted by timothy
from the linux-on-the-desktop dept.
dotancohen (1015143) writes "It is commonly said that open source software is preferable because if you need something changed, you can change it yourself. Well, I am not an Xorg developer and I cannot maintain a separate Xorg fork. Xorg version 1.13.1 introduced a bug which breaks the "Sticky Keys" accessibility option. Thus, handicapped users who rely on the feature cannot use Xorg-based systems with the affected versions and are stuck on older software versions. Though all pre-bug Linux distros are soon scheduled for retirement, there seems to be no fix in sight. Should disabled users stick with outdated, vulnerable, and unsupported Linux distros or should we move to OS-X / Windows?

The prospect of changing my OS, applications, and practices due to such an ostensibly small issue is frightening. Note that we are not discussing 'I don't like change' but rather 'this unintentional change is incompatible with my physical disability.' Thus this is not a case of every change breaks someone's workflow."
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Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

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  • by Krishnoid (984597) on Friday March 28, 2014 @08:40PM (#46607645) Journal

    From The Law of Success 2.0 [gnu.org]:

    RMS: So if I'm using the free program and I make a change in it, which I know how to do, then I could publish my modified version and then you. Perhaps you're not a programmer; you would still be able to get the benefit of the change I make. Not only that, you could pay somebody to change the program for you, or you could join an organisation whose goal is to change a certain program in a certain way, and all the members would put in their money, and that's how they would hire a programmer to change it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      There's one major problem there: most disabled people in the US are living on Supplemental Security Income of $600-850/month, and have no other source of money. Even a group of them are unlikely to be able to pool enough to hire somebody to fix a bug in something like Xorg.

      • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday March 28, 2014 @10:38PM (#46608065)

        The open source community is pretty cool. Simply getting together in the right forum would likely get the right people interested in helping you. Hell I'd start with posting to Slashdot... hey... WAIT A MINUTE WE'VE BEEN HAD!!!

      • It's like charities don't exist. It's like kickstarter never happened. I feel sorry for the dystopian timeline you left when you joined ours.

      • by wvmarle (1070040) on Saturday March 29, 2014 @02:26AM (#46608557)

        The sad part is that it is a known bug, that got introduced breaking a perfectly working feature, and is still not fixed. It is not a new feature they're asking for, just to retain something that was always there.

        This is programmers not doing their job - and it being FOSS that is distributed for free is irrelevant as it's more than a hobby-level tool we're talking about. It's production-level software, and essential to the operation of a large number of computer systems.

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          And read the multitude of posters below you, what do they say? "Its free so you can't complain" which just goes to show that even many in the community realize its strictly hobbyist level code and that you get what you pay for, a big nothing.

          Meanwhile if they would have went Apple or Windows they would have years of support, a strict timeline so they'd know exactly when the OS would no longer be supported, and with sticky keys and other tools for the disabled being fully functional the entire time.

          The sim

      • There's one major problem there: most disabled people in the US are living on Supplemental Security Income of $600-850/month, and have no other source of money. Even a group of them are unlikely to be able to pool enough to hire somebody to fix a bug in something like Xorg.

        This is also potentially a huge benefit. I really enjoy working to make GNU/Linux more accessible. I'd do it full time if I could, but I cant afford to. I don't have the time, and companies wont pay me to do it.

        People with disabilities, as you suggest, often have no job and little money. They often have lot's of free time that could be spend improving FOSS accessibility. A primary vision of the Accessible Computing Foundation is creating a world where people with disabilities help themselves by creatin

    • by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Saturday March 29, 2014 @04:52AM (#46608775) Journal

      Kudos to RMS for believing accessibility is a human right, and taking action personally to promote accessibility in Linux. Fixing accessibility in Linux is a mess, but if we can get enough people involved, it's doable. This is the mission of multiple efforts, and the one I'm involved in is the ACF (Accessible Computing Foundation). The free software movement, and the goal of people with disabilities taking control of their computing environments are well aligned. GNU/Linux provides a platform where at least in theory any and all accessibility issues can be corrected, unlike Windows and Mac OS X.

      Unfortunately there are considerable obstacles to "fixing" accessibility in Linux. I believe they can be overcome if enough people come together to make it happen, but there are huge challenges. There are also people who devote a lot of their lives to improving the situation, often for free or very low financial incentive. I spearheaded the 3.0 release of Vinux, which is Linux for the Vision Impaired. I fixed a dozen or so accessibility bugs, but the right fix in many cases would involve major changes to GNU/Linux. I'll list a few.

      The accessibility API in GNU/Linux, atk/at-spi, should have shared more functionality with Windows. For typical corporate and FOSS anti-Windows reasons, the accessibility stack was built intentionally in a Windows incompatible way. The result is that accessibility in Firefox and many other major applications never works as well in Linux as it does in Windows. It simply is not reasonable to make every software vendor do all their accessibility coding N times for N operating systems. There is even an effort called Iaccessible2, which is basically a FOSS accessibility stack for Windows, which the creators seemed to hope could also work for Linux. The code was even donated to the Linux Foundation. However, there was never any money or motivation in FOSS land to actually port the software to Linux, SFAIK. Building a single accessibility API that works in Windows, GNU/Linux, Android, and Mac OS X would go a long way towards fixing accessibility in all of those places, but especially in GNU/Linux, since it is usually the OS vendors put the least effort into. As it stands, few GNU/Linux distros are able to keep FireFox and LibreOffice accessibility working.

      Then there's the problem of Linux being a multi-headed Hydra monster with no one in charge. At Microsoft, Bill Gates took a personal interest in accessibility, and that's all it took for the entire company to take accessibility seriously. In GNU/Linux land, RMS also takes a strong personal interest in accessibility, but it's not like most of the devs work for the guy. RMS can make his case, but when your boss is asking for prettier GTK+ widgets in Gnome 3 and you're late delivering, accessibility fixes fall by the wayside. When we are lucky enough for a patch to be developed, many times the GNU/Linux authors refuse to include them, because the "fix" is not perfect. For example, I added accessible descriptions to pixmaps in GTK+, which enabled blind users to hear 'star' for a star icon in a table containing pixmaps. The devs could not decide if pixmap was the right place for this accessible description, enabling them to justify doing nothing, and the continued lack of support for accessible icons was the result. It saved them a few hours of work in testing, which was their real priority. Multiply this asinine situation 100X, and you begin to understand why making Linux accessible is hard. GNU/Linux land seems to take pride in making it hard to fix accessibility, because we make it almost impossible to override any given stupid author's decision not to support accessibility. I should be able to patch GTK+, and have that patch automatically distributed to every user of every distro who believes my accessibility patches are something they want. Instead, we've built a system where patches have to be accepted by the authors, and then distributed slowly over years to the stable distros. Stupid, stupid, stupid...

  • go Windows (Score:4, Funny)

    by turkeydance (1266624) on Friday March 28, 2014 @08:41PM (#46607647)
    familiarity with being handicapped.
  • by spitzak (4019) on Friday March 28, 2014 @08:44PM (#46607663) Homepage

    Somebody has already narrowed the problem down to specific patch:

    Comment 7 Peter Hutterer 2014-01-16 05:43:43 UTC

    bisected to this commit:

    commit 11319a922575f1da1d3c5774728c0dee12bab069
    Author: Peter Hutterer
    Date: Thu Oct 11 16:03:33 2012 +1000

            xkb: ProcesssPointerEvent must work on the VCP if it gets the VCP

    It would help if that number was a link to the git log.

    • Could you create a downstream diff at the distribution level to resolve the bug?

    • by spitzak (4019) on Friday March 28, 2014 @09:03PM (#46607729) Homepage

      Goddamn that was painful, but I found the actual patch:

      http://cgit.freedesktop.org/xo... [freedesktop.org]

      I would say it is rather shocking that this Peter Hutterer actually did about 90% of the work, then posted something that is not a clue as to how to see the answer.

      And that the original poster (who I assume made this Slashdot story) did not post any followup for 3 months, probably leading Peter to forget all about fixing this.

      • by spitzak (4019)

        I'll bet this is going to be patched in the git repositor within a half hour.

        But I'm not sure if posting Slashdot stories is the best way to get a bug fixed. But if it is the only one that works, might as well do it.

        I still feel the original poster should have put *something* on that bug report in all the time since January 16th!

        • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday March 28, 2014 @09:59PM (#46607943) Homepage Journal

          I'll bet this is going to be patched in the git repositor within a half hour.

          Reverting would be easy - I'm don't know enough about X to understand if the IsMaster(mouse) test can easily be augmented to not break StickyKeys, but fixing a null pointer dereference is something that needs to be done.

          But for just the users' use case (and people will hate this) - this is where paying somebody to deal with the problem for you comes in.

          A decent hacker would have done the work you did in the first hour, created a distro patch in the second, and put up a repo with the new packages in the third. Throw in an hour for testing.

          It seems likely that there are enough people affected by this that if they all threw in a dollar it would have been done by the next day. What we might have here is a community coordination problem, not just a software bug.

          • by H0p313ss (811249)

            fixing a null pointer dereference is something that needs to be done.

            FFS... that's the issue?

            Screw hiring developers, let's start a kickstarter and hire someone to break the kneecaps of whoever committed the broken code.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by VortexCortex (1117377)

            It seems likely that there are enough people affected by this that if they all threw in a dollar it would have been done by the next day. What we might have here is a community coordination problem, not just a software bug.

            Or, you know, just giving a head's up to the dev who was already bisecting the bug and what not. That the bug was left for months without follow-up from "affects me too on $OS $VERSION" is the problem. Instead of being so hyperbolic and moronic as to resorting to paying people and bitiching about it on a tech news site and saying, OH, SHOULD I JUST SWITCH TO $PROPRIETARY SOFTWARE like some kind of moron or shill, the affected party could have opened a new (duplicate) bug, but seeing as they already knew a

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Spitzak your "not post any follow up for 3 months" statement seems to easy to disprove.

        https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=73155

        Dotan Cohen 2013-12-30 14:46:05 UTC - Original post
        Dotan Cohen 2013-12-30 18:46:10 UTC - response same day
        Dotan Cohen 2014-01-10 13:25:23 UTC - initial response to Peter Hutterer
        Dotan Cohen 2014-02-14 10:20:39 UTC - second response to Peter Hutterer (includes a thank you)
        Dotan Cohen 2014-03-21 12:35:54 UTC - inquiry on possible schedule to fix

        Slashdot post
        Dotan Cohen 2014

        • A "shame the developer" post to Slashdot is not the same thing as pinging the developer directly, and makes this really undesirable to fix, as it implies that similar pressure would work on the same developer in the future. If I'm a volunteer, I really don't appreciate you making demands on my time with the threat of publicly thrown tomatoes to back up your demands should I not meet them in a fashion you consider timely.

          It's also pretty ass to insist on a release schedule for a change (see previous post: w

    • by dasunt (249686)

      If that patch didn't exist, I'd recommend finding the mailing list or forum, then asking them. Else, check the package maintainer for your distribution, and email them directly.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387)
      Peter Hutterer is one of the geniuses of project management who decided it would be better to make things in Wayland. So look at this as a preview for how things will be going in Wayland.
  • by Anrego (830717) * on Friday March 28, 2014 @08:49PM (#46607683)

    I'll give you that this bug carries a tad more weight due to what I would think is a large impact, but the usual "no one is fixing this bug" answers apply:

    - do it yourself (I get that this is often not an option, but including for completeness)
    - convince someone else to do it
    - pay someone to do it
    - find some workaround

    • Re:Mmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by roc97007 (608802) on Friday March 28, 2014 @08:55PM (#46607707) Journal

      I'll give you that this bug carries a tad more weight due to what I would think is a large impact, but the usual "no one is fixing this bug" answers apply:

      - do it yourself (I get that this is often not an option, but including for completeness)
      - convince someone else to do it
      - pay someone to do it
      - find some workaround

      I think OP is trying to do the second one with this article. Perhaps someone will read this and be embarrassed enough to fix it.

      • by tlambert (566799)

        I think OP is trying to do the second one [...convince someone else to do it...] with this article. Perhaps someone will read this and be embarrassed enough to fix it.

        Or perhaps it will backfire to discourage other people from posting future embarrassing articles every time someone has a problem where they consider a change a bug, and want the behaviour reverted?

    • Re:Mmm (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sigma 7 (266129) on Friday March 28, 2014 @09:52PM (#46607925)

      do it yourself (I get that this is often not an option, but including for completeness)

      Sometimes it isn't an option because your fix gets rejected (or left to idle in an obscure bug report)

      For example, one build utility had a bug where it checked for the presense of a compiler, but not if it was functional. The fix was rejected because the build utility doesn't check path - despite the fact that it does so for a different compiler. (Explicitly defining which compiler to use defeats the purpose of using said tool in the first place - I'd just use Makefile instead.)

      Did you know it took 10+ years for Mozilla to fix the alert() denial loop [mozilla.org]? That bug is older than Mozilla itself, and the most obvious fix of "checkbox to stop further dialogs" was dismissed as a hack (compared to the destructive hack of force-killing Mozilla.)

      • Well, sometimes even if you get the patch accepted it STILL doesn't fix the issue.

        For example, I once submitted a patch and had it accepted to a project, but the maintainer had died before releasing a new build. This was severely inconsiderate because I really needed this bug to be fixed. What other extreme "+1 Interesting" edge cases can you think of for why all of the normal options just couldn't work? What possible hope can we have of a fix when a cosmic ray could change a bit of the release binary an

      • Did you know it took 10+ years for Mozilla to fix the alert() denial loop [mozilla.org]? That bug is older than Mozilla itself, and the most obvious fix of "checkbox to stop further dialogs" was dismissed as a hack (compared to the destructive hack of force-killing Mozilla.)

        Yeah, and it should be reverted to the prior behavior because it doesn't fix the issue. If you're giving someone an infinite alert loop, then your code is bad or malicious.

        Whether it is bad or malicious this "fix" doesn't fix the issue at all. The very same "denial of service" is easily produced by wrapping an infinite loop in a short window.setInterval(...);. Then instead of an alert() popup you get a never-ending stream of "would you like to stop the script?" dialogs. So, if it's a pop-up dialog deni

        • by Sigma 7 (266129)

          Yeah, and it should be reverted to the prior behavior because it doesn't fix the issue.

          Prior behavior was with Windows 95/98 and really old versions of Netscape, where the browser blindly loaded an image from c:\con\con because that's the file found in the img tag. Unlike the BSoD, you needed a 110 reset.

          And no, you should never revert to a revision that provides worse control over malicious scripts.

          you get a never-ending stream of "would you like to stop the script?" dialogs

          The script-stopping dialog woul

    • I would suspect that most disability types have members that can adapt software to the needs of the group. Perhaps someone that has a disability can contact the org that represents their disability and suggest that the patch be mentioned in the org's fliers or on their web site. Better yet some of these orgs could actually send a patched DVD with to members of the group that need the software.
  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Friday March 28, 2014 @08:50PM (#46607685)

    I support fixing this bug, Linux has far too many issues with this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2014 @08:55PM (#46607705)

    They might not have implemented that bug yet.

  • So far 13 posts, and most of them are unhelpful drivel.

    Way to prove Linux is superior.

    Did he mention the system used to work as expected, and now is broken?

    If I was a Linux advocate, I'd be ashamed of the community over stupid crap like this situation.

    • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Friday March 28, 2014 @09:08PM (#46607751)

      I am incapable of fixing it. (and I have a Bachelors degree of IT/CS) and I'll assume the person posting can't fix it. An upstanding member of the community NEEDS to fix this. I am ashamed over this.

      • Hi Zombie. Your posts were in the group that wasn't "unhelpful drivel". Sorry if you thought I was attacking you.

        My share of outrage grew as I was reading the initial responses, quoting Stallman and saying 'go fix it yourself'. I refreshed the screen before posting, to get an accurate count, and saw your responses then.

        I thought about specifying the ones that were or weren't drivel, but decided it would dilute the message, and after 30 more minutes, no one would know which were in those initial groups.

        Anyho

      • by Livius (318358)

        The problem illustrates technology egos gone mad.

        Of course they know 99% of even technical people simply cannot fix software of this complexity. They are waiting for everyone else to point out how inadequate ordinary people or even ordinary software developers are compared to masters such as themselves, because they would rather listen to that than follow through with whatever commitment they made.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No kidding, eh?

      Not the only instance. Here's one from ages ago, identified initially as an accessibility issue:

      https://bugreports.qt-project.org/browse/QTBUG-24304

      even prodvided test case to demonstrate it. Finally gets a response ~ 1 1/2 *years* later:

      "... Believe it or not, we have other priorities (this is actually not the only open bug!) and some of them even support our jobs so that we can continue working on Qt. ..."

      This kind of lack of interest in accessibility is why we don't use any Linux on the

      • Even that poster, spitzak, calls the process he went through "painful", and the lack of completion "shocking". I glad the patch is available, and am happy that the people who really need it will be able to get it after upgrading from their unsupported versions of software they been forced to use because of the issue.

        By the way, he posted one minute before I did. So while I was typing and previewing my post. And after I refreshed my screen before typing my post, to be more accurate. Don't make it seem like I

        • by retchdog (1319261)

          Typical partisan hack commie; your ticket would bring only serfdom.

          I, and any true American lover of liberty, demand a Libertarian president and Green Party vice president! ;-)

          • Typical partisan hack commie; your ticket would bring only serfdom.

            Huh? What ticket? I'm talking about Linux, not going to the movies.

            I, and any true American lover of liberty, demand a Libertarian president and Green Party vice president! ;-)

            OMG!! roflmao

            You got me good. :^)

            But in the end, you are completely wrong and are the whole reason we can't have nice things. :^P

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      Has it occurred to you that not all Slashdot posters are Linux fans? Some of them are a little butthurt about all the Windows bashing.
      • That aspect did occur to me. But the few who seemed genuinely sincere in support of Linux were not any more helpful than the ones who were simply trolling. Only zombie and roc were supportive in a meaningful way. And when I initally saw the article, there were only 8 messages. It went up to 13 when I refreshed the display for more accuracy. Spitzak finally linked to the patch and showed that it was being committed to git, but his initial post, which I saw as I was typing my own post, only showed that there

    • Bingo.

      So far 13 posts, and most of them are unhelpful drivel. Way to prove Linux is superior.

      This thread shows a lot of what is wrong in the Linux community.

      .
      A significant bug appears, and little is posted besides drivel.

      Way to go Linux Community.

      Just fix the damn bug.

    • by westlake (615356) on Friday March 28, 2014 @10:09PM (#46607965)

      So far 13 posts, and most of them are unhelpful drivel.

      The worst being the posts that suggest the disabled should cough up the money to pay for a fix or fix the problem themselves. It would be rough justice to put these posters on an SSI budget and see how well they fare.

      • Exactly.

        It's not like we are outraged that something in Linux doesn't work quite right. Or that something has never worked quite right. And it certainly isn't something that a 'special interest group' wants added. It was a previously-working feature that was broken for some reason. The /.er that wrote the original story was very candid and reserved, considering the personal nature of what he was addressing.

        And the response were "well, that's free software for you", "fix it yourself" "the rms says blahblahbl

        • by rk (6314)

          If it makes you feel any better, my first reaction on seeing this was "Hmm, let me read the comments and see if anyone has a fix or workaround, and if not, hell, I'm sitting around in hospital bored out of my mind. I'm not familiar with the Xorg code tree, but this would be a great thing to spend a weekend to get my feet wet." I'd like to think that there were at least a few of us out here in the same place (well, maybe not the hospital part ;-)), leaving chuckleheads to post before the people who rolled up

          • You make a good point or two. But if you think a little talk is going to make me feel better, ... just kidding. It helps quell the rage. ;^)

            Hope your hospital stay goes well.

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      Still better than the "we pretend to care about our customers, but really care about protecting our image from damage by legitimate complaints" non-committal corporate newspeak that most closed vendors respond with.

    • by jrumney (197329)

      Did he mention the system used to work as expected, and now is broken?

      Are you sure it was working as expected before? The current behaviour seems quite convenient, and quite possibly could have been the original intention of the feature, especially since the fix that has changed the behaviour seems to be the correct fix for other problems involving distinction between mouse and keyboard events. A lot of fuss is being made about the fact that the bug reporter needs to press Ctrl a second time to cancel his

    • by reikae (80981)

      How does your post help the submitter? Your post and now mine aren't any more helpful than those you call unhelpful drivel.

      I use both Windows and Debian GNU/Linux. Both work fine for me. There are nice and not-so-nice people in both Windows and Linux communities. The niceness of the community doesn't have anything to do with technical superiority or inferiority of the operating systems (or kernels if you will).

    • Most posts on Slashdot are unhelpful drivel, although some are golden.
      How do comments made on slashdot relate to Linux?

      Did he mention the system used to work as expected, and now is broken?

      I read your comment why wouldn't I have read the summary? but yes it is at the top of the page if you use your page up button you can check for yourself. do you have a UI that allows you to do that? You might consider my reply insulting but look at what you wrote.

      If I was a Linux advocate, I'd be ashamed of the community over stupid crap like this situation.

      which community? which situation? That a Slashdot story has a lot of crappy comments? That you post flamebait and it gets modded

  • Use older version.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Blaskowicz (634489) on Friday March 28, 2014 @09:08PM (#46607749)

    Some distros are supported for a long time, like CentOS, Ubuntu LTS and others (I dont' know them) and debian is half-decent with three years.
    So it's easy to install a distro based on Ubuntu 12.04, you get support till 2017 so that buys you time till the bug is fixed! (or even some Wayland and graphics driver that work well enough, if the accessibility feature is implemented)

    Debian wheezy uses Xorg 1.12.4 (I've just checked) and works till 2016, it has many derivates too (like Crunchbang)
    I don't know too much about the rpm world, if not for CentOS, it is dated but has very long support. till 2020.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2014 @09:09PM (#46607755)

    Basically what you want is to escalate this issue so that it gets more attention. As this affects people with disabilities I suspect you may get some results if you try to contact the Linux Foundation [linuxfoundation.org], who may then be able to twist a few arms or throw some resources at the problem as needed. You could, for example, point this very thread out to "pr@linuxfoundation.com" and let them know that this is a bit of a black eye against Linux.

    • by Endloser (1170279)

      This is a very productive post. Thank you for an intelligent answer that will help this person in the future. Teach a man to fish and you feed him forever.

    • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@@@project-retrograde...com> on Saturday March 29, 2014 @12:45AM (#46608393)

      and let them know that this is a bit of a black eye against Linux.

      Or, you could recognize TFA as the hit-piece it is: Points to the Bug, knows what a bug tracker is, doesn't use the bug tracker to fix the issue: Open a new duplicate bug to get it re-triaged and noticed by more than just the bug assignee. Escalate the issue to other devs. It's not like the devs are saying: NO WE DO NOT GIVE A FLYING FUCK ABOUT DISABLED PEOPLE GO USE MICROSOFT OR APPLE, ANYTHING BUT A FREE AND OPEN SOURCE OPERATING SYSTEM.

      This is a tempest in a teapot with sizable negative PR spin. I do not negotiate with terrorists. I do not speak for everyone, but to the users who jump to shaming tactics instead of resolution options: Fuck you, I don't give a flying fuck about your persecution complex. I would rather not deal with such disgusting shit-stirrers.

      For future reference, Submitter, if you're reading this: How to ask a question the smart way. [catb.org] -- Everything here also pertains to bugs or questions like "Why isn't this fixed yet?". The answer? You reap what you sew.

  • A few options (Score:5, Insightful)

    by raymorris (2726007) on Friday March 28, 2014 @09:36PM (#46607873)

    So far, we know that Peter caused the change, Peter knows that, and Peter knows how to put it back. Peter isn't sure that it's broken since it now follows the written spec. Ideally, we'd like Peter to fix it, but for that we need to convince Peter that the new behavior is wrong and it SHOULD be reverted. If he chooses to, it will take many seconds to revert the change.

    What I'd do next is find the written documentation of the behavior in earlier versions, in Windows, and OSX. YOU said they all work the other way, but the spec says otherwise. So prove your case by linking to written documentation. When you post the links, mention "the principle of least surprise", a term meaning that users should not be surprised by the behavior of the software.

    Also, right now ONE person on the planet has said they don't like the new behavior. If EVERYONE in a large group is having a problem with it, a few could post saying so. I'm sure there are forums and such related to accessibility, so ask around. Find out for sure, are other people reall having great difficulty with it? If so, will they post in the ticket?

    Then mail Peter and request that he look at it. You could ask how much would be a fair contribution for his time spent looking into it. (Answer - about $20 - $50).

    If Peter doesn't respond, email the project maintainer, mentioning that Peter seems to be unavailable and asking that the maintainer look at it.

    If those two options fail, that single-line change is so small that any Linux programmer could compile a copy for you with it reverted. It would only take a minutes. Two years from now, if an important update comes out, someone could easily do the same with the new version. Obviously that's less desireable than getting the upstream source fixed, but it fixes YOUR problem.

     

    • If I'm reading the description of the issue correctly, the problem is that an option that used to modify the behavior of the Sticky Keys feature now does nothing. How is that not a bug, by any stretch of the imagination?
      • The change was to make it follow the written specification, a bug fix. The reporter is saying that the bug fix wasn't, because he figures the old behavior is better.

        I have no idea which way it should work, but the ticket has the submitter expressing one opinion and Peter expressing another opinion. Not long ago, I submitted a fix for a bug in an open source project. It was obviously bug, the documentation said it worked one way, the code did the opposite. I fixed it to work according to the documentatio

        • OK, I'm confused. You're saying that the specification states that the "Lock" option is not supposed to do anything?
          • by grahamwest (30174)

            The spec in question - http://www.x.org/docs/XKB/XKBp... [x.org] as Peter references in the bug comments - discusses StickyKeys (4.4 on page 9) and strongly implies modifiers only unlatch on key presses; mouse buttons are not mentioned. His change made the code match this reading of the spec. I have a hard time believing that's what the spec writers intended, but if so then KDE's lock checkbox really isn't supposed to do anything.

          • by jrumney (197329)
            The submitter is exaggerating. The Lock option still works for the keyboard. It acts like it is always on for the mouse.
      • by jrumney (197329)
        The "Lock" feature is not in the Gnome Accessibility settings, so must be a KDE specific feature. Looking at the patch that was identified as the cause of the behaviour change, it only affects mouse operation, so either another patch is involved, or the Lock feature is still working for keyboard use. The submitter's problem is with the change in behaviour for the mouse, but I'm not entirely clear why. When you use Ctrl-mouse clicks (his example for a problemetic use case), more often than not you want to
    • Re:A few options (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Todd Knarr (15451) on Friday March 28, 2014 @10:15PM (#46607985) Homepage

      I do know that even as a non-disabled user, the behavior Peter describes as "per spec" (that is, mouse buttons are not keys for the purposes of releasing the sticky keys) is counter-intuitive since the modifier keys interact with mouse buttons the same way they do with non-modifier keys (ie. Control modifies selection with mouse clicks the same way it modifies selection with the keyboard). Given that normal interaction with both non-modifier keys and mouse buttons, I'd expect instructions about how modifier keys behave to also apply analogously when both non-modifier keys and mouse buttons (but not mouse movements) are involved. Either that or I would expect modifier keys to not interact with mouse clicks the same way they do with regular keys.

      • That's a good point. Maybe someone will post it in the ticket.

      • by grahamwest (30174)

        I just tested and OS X treats the clicks and key presses the same way when sticky keys is enabled. Hit the modifier, the next click or key press is modified. Hit the modifier twice and all clicks and key presses and modified until you hit the modifier again to unlock.

        Seems very much the logical way to do it.

  • Posting a "Ask Slashdot" question may give enough publicity to this bug to have an emotional dev take care of your problem. It seems it's the way to get things done, nowadays. There was a time where open source developers guided by passion were always keen to perform lengthy anti-regression tests and urged to fix main problems. According to the more recent versions of Gnome, Gimp, VLC, ... this time is gone [the Linux kernel being an exception].
  • Reading the bug report commentary, it appears there's an error in the specification: http://www.x.org/docs/XKB/XKBp... [x.org] that Peter Hutterer propagated into the code. The specification should be fixed as well as the code. Peter's comments about the change also discuss a null-pointer dereference problem - I'm not clear how that is related to the change - and therefore whether reverting the change is the complete solution.

    The specification appears to be dated 1997-12-15, so all this is blowback from 16-year-old

  • by stenvar (2789879) on Friday March 28, 2014 @11:53PM (#46608257)

    The bug was reported in December 2013, and expecting a three month turnaround from a free project for bug fixes is a bit much. There are plenty of older distros that are still supported and work, so the sky isn't falling. And, believe me, recent Linux distros break plenty of people's user interfaces in plenty of ways that are just as inconvenient as not having sticky key work may be to you. In addition, if you really care, you can write a user-mode program to give you the same functionality.

    So, my suggestion is: just switch to Windows or OS/X. I'm sure those commercial systems will give you bug fixes with three months turnaround. You deserve the kind of service and support that Microsoft and Apple give you!

  • Just use windows. It doesn't really work any better but at least they don't break core functionality a few times a year and then take months to fix it...

    Ok maybe I'm exaggerating and this is only an Ubuntu problem; it's been years since I've been annoying-bug-free for more than 3 months with...

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