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One of the major plus points about free and open source software is that it adheres to widely accepted standards. Rarely does any software of this genre seek to create its own standard in order to do what proprietary systems do - grab marketshare.


The Drupal content management system is no exception and many of its virtues in the area of accessibility will be touched on by accessibility expert Gian Wild when she delivers a keynote at the Drupal Downunder conference on January 14, after the day's talks are over.

The conference runs from January 13 to 15, with the first day being taken up by tutorials and workshops.

The main conference will be held on January 14 and 15, from 9am to 6pm on Saturday and from 9am to 5pm on Sunday, at the Jasper Hotel in Melbourne. There are four tracks and a total of 36 presentations.

Wild runs a consultancy named AccessibilityOz, which as the name implies is concerned with web standards. In a media release issued by the conference organisers, she said the time had come for web developers to learn about the new standard of web accessibility guidelines and how they differed from the old ones.

"Having an inaccessible website means there are a group of people who can't use the content or functionality of that website," she says.

"But because they have a disability they may not actually be able to access that information in any other way.

Wild said banking was a good example. "People with a disability may be unable to visit a branch to do their daily banking - whereas they are more likely to be able to use an accessible website from home."

Drupal creator Dries Buytaert and well-known Drupal developer Dmitri Gaskin will deliver the other two keynotes.

 

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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