Spencer Hunley

153 points
Spencer holding a mug with a quote that reads: 'She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.'
United States

Spencer Hunley is an autistic professional, open-source assistive technology enthusiast, and advocate for people with disabilities. He has presented at LinuxCon 2013 and 2014, giving talks about including people with disabilities in the Linux community, how accessible and assistive technology would benefit from more Linux and open-source contributions, and how people with disabilities can be an asset for the Linux and open source communities.
He is currently a fellow moderator for Universal Tux on Google+, former President & board member of the Autism Society of the Heartland & current chapter leader for the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network's Kansas City chapter.

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"No support from blind government agencies and organizations

This isn't so much an issue as it is an annoyance. As far as I know, blind government agencies responsible for purchasing adaptive equipment for blind and disabled people have little (if any) interest in supporting Linux and open source projects. I have yet to find a good reason for this."

This is absolutely an issue. An annoyance would be lackluster support, knowledge and experience surrounding Linux and FOSS AT technology; this is an actual problem, and I've been witness to it firsthand.

About 3-5 years ago, when I first discovered various accessibility and assistive technology programs in Linux, I was overjoyed and thought this would be perfect to present to my state's assistive technology council. I took my trusty but underpowered netbook with me to meet with the director; they were....less than enthused. They didn't know much about Linux, but seemed to be firmly in the pocket of proprietary AT companies and felt there were too many unknowns to utilize Linux or FOSS beyond a few tips to deeply impoverished individuals and/or families.

I don't see much in the way of acceptance of Linux and FOSS in the world of AT right now; I firmly believe that accessibility and AT applications would receive more attention and better support/development if government agencies across cities, states and our country would act to adopt Linux as a part of their AT strategy.

@Kendell Clark:

Thank you for your kind words - we're definitely not giving up; Linux and open-source can do so much, we just have to put in the work and encourage involvement from people with disabilities.