Can Linux Inspire RSI-Aware Operating Systems?

KDE 3.4, the newest version of the open-source desktop environment for Linux, boasts improved accessability features, such as the KDE Text-to-speech framework, which integrates into KDE’s PDF-viewer, editor, and web browser. It also includes the KMouseTool which can click the mouse for people with RSI. According to the KDE Project, “Standard accessibility features including “Sticky Keys”, “Slow Keys” and “Bounce Keys” are also available and are now more easily accessed via keyboard gestures. All of these features combine to open the world of computing to a much wider audience and to a section of the population that is often overlooked. The KDE project will continue its close cooperation with the accessibility community to reach even more people in the future.”

Is this a sign of increased accessability features for the major operating systems, such as Windows and Mac OS X? Let’s hope so.

It would be nice if OS’s would include simple features such as a basic break timer. Even if it was a fairly dumb timer, based on time and not work intensity, it would be better than nothing. But I have a feeling that wouldn’t fly with business licensees. A six-minute break every hour? That’s a 10% loss in productivity! Of course, that’s a short-sighted point of view, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the argument from many managers. In reality, short, frequent breaks would likely be a boon for productivity.

Randy Rasa

Randy is an engineer/programmer/web designer who has suffered from repetitive strain injury off and on for over a decade.

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