Diary of a CrazyFrench

Friday 11 October 2013

Reaching the summit

Even the coffee cups are personalised. #MozSummit

Last week-end, Mozilla held its summit in 3 locations: Santa Clara, Toronto and Brussels. The summit is where contributors paid (employees) or not (volunteers) meet and discuss the future of Mozilla and how we are gonna help shape the web. We call them (ourselves) Mozillians.

I attended in Brussels and it was for me the occasion to meet fellow Mozillians for the first in face to face, and to meet other I had never interacted with. I'm reaching my two years as a Mozillian (and paid contributor) and I see a huge value in this. I found that we have a very friendly and vibrant community, spread across the globe, people passionate about the web, passionate about the users and the future of the web, from developers, designers, artists, translators to evangelist, marketing and administrative support. The full spectrum was represented.

I can't wait to attend the next Mozilla summit, in the mean time I'll attend the Gnome Summit that is being held tomorrow in the city I call home: Montréal.

Also I need to go through the 1900 pictures I took during the event. In the mean time you can watch that set on Flickr that contain the stuff I posted on Instagram almost immediately, as well that the Flickr group Mozilla Summit 2013 I created to pool the pictures from other users (feel free to add yours if you haven't already).

Monday 16 July 2012

Accessible Mac Firefox (Aurora) 16

Firefox 16 uplift to Aurora is today. This version will have Accessibility enabled on Mac, finally, but you must either force enable or use VoiceOver. It should work for basic tasks, albeit there is some serious performance problems with VoiceOver I'm investigating.

Also, coming soon for Firefox 17: handling properly image maps.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Firefox Mac accessibility update

Some update about Firefox accessibility on Mac:

  • Accessibility on Mac has been disabled in Aurora 15 (and Nightly) shortly after the uplift early June. This was done because accessibility seemed to be instanciated for more than just accessibility clients, causing several unforeseen performance issues.
  • Accessibility on Mac has been re-enabled in last night Nightly 16 build for Mac. The changes are that now we whitelist VoiceOver before starting accessibility on the Mac. We also added a switch in about:config to force enable (bypass the white listing) or disable.
  • I have a current patch queue that include dealing with tab panels properly (bug 750612), text reading (bug 718625) and WAI-ARIA landmarks (bug 718700).

Using about:config: accessibility.force_disable. This option has 3 values:

  • 0 (default): do as usual
  • 1: disabled. Accessibility will not be started.
  • -1: force enabled. Accessibility will always start when requested, even without voice over.

This also works on Windows (the value -1 is unused) and soon on Linux with atk (I have to finish it)

I hope to get more rolling before we uplift Aurora 16.

Thursday 29 March 2012

Building b2g on Fedora. Field notes - part 2

See part 1 if you haven't.

As of this week, some changes in b2g cause more breakage in the build process on Fedora. Plus some various bugs.

First, if when doing the make config-galaxy-s2 you get the following error:

cp: cannot create regular file `../../../vendor/samsung/c1-common/proprietary/etc/mdnie_tune_bypass_mode': No such file or directory

in the B2G directory, do a

mkdir ./glue/gonk/vendor/samsung/c1-common/proprietary/etc

and try again.

Also, make gonk will want to run a pre-build xulrunner in 32-bits

  • freetype.i686
  • fontconfig.i686
  • alsa-lib.i686
  • dbus-glib.i686
  • pango.i686
  • gtk2.i686
  • libXt.i686

Ideally, the fix would be to actually get a 64-bits xulrunner instead. Patches welcome™ I was told. On your copious-spare-time™.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Building b2g on Fedora. Field notes

Yesterday I tried and successfully built b2g on Fedora 16 x86_64, targeting the emulator. These are my notes on how to do it as the instructions to setup the build environment are very Ubuntu centric.

The prebuilt binaries expect to be on a 32-bits system. So we are gonna need to install 32-bits packages. Also there is a requirement to have adb to boostrap (it is built afterwards). Fortunately you can skip installing the SDK for the bootstrap and use the Fedora package android-tools that provides adb.

The packages you need, that will also pull the proper dependencies are:

  • glibc.i686
  • glibc-devel.i686
  • libstdc++.i686
  • ncurses-devel.i686
  • readline-devel.i686
  • zlib-devel.i686

To run qemu:

  • libXrandr.i686

You also need the usual requirements to build Firefox as well as git. Install these using yum.

Then follow the build instructions to build on QEMU.

Enjoy !

(dont forget part 2)

Thursday 8 March 2012

CSUN 2012 conference

Last week I was in sunny San Diego, CA at the 27th CSUN accessibility conference, part of the Mozilla delegation along with Eitan and Marco. So was a very enlightening event. I'm quite new to accessibility technology and what I saw is an even greater reliance on technologies, for the good and the better.

Beside the usual important work on web accessibility, there was also in multiple occasions discussions about repurposing tools for accessibility need. One concrete example is Google Goggles. This app for Android always seemed to me to be a gadget, but in fact it has proven to be a pretty convenient tools for things like reading bank notes (the US dollar notes don't have braille, unlike the Canadian one). Or face detection in a cell phone camera to take a picture: the framing guided by voice.

Another use was Google own Google+ hangout[1]. Google hangout is for live conversation using sign language. There is in fact a lot of work done to make the video fluid and good enough for that. Video fluidity was also an argument presented by the Apple marketing manager when talking about iOS and FaceTime. Some fantastic stuff.

Android accessibility is a different story. It seems that there is a large difference between 2.3 and 4.0 in term of support, where 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is going way further. One of the major change is that now accessibility is required for the Android Google Marketplace lock-in. No more stripped down like it was on the Asus Transformer running 3.2. It is unclear however if the skinning that Samsung Touchwiz or HTC Sense UI will be required to be accessible: as it is now, HTC Sense UI actually is forcing to root the phone and have Cyanogen Mod installed in order to be accessible. Also I had a chance to see Eitan's work in Firefox for Android accessibility.

Things I saw: a demo of Windows 8 on a tablet with IE 10. They have accessibility built into with touch discovery and gesture, and video subtitle and captions. I also happen to have tried for the first time a Windows Phone 7 phone and saw a second one on the plane (bound to SEA). iOS devices seems to dominate and the reason is that their approach to accessibility from the ground up is probably the best on the market for non market-specific devices. And they also support bluetooth Braille readers.

It was good to meet with everybody, Ryan, Jenisson, Laura, Kevin, Sina, Victor, Carol, Matt, Richard, Matt, Eitan, Marco, Rainer, Steven, Henny, Denis, Sylvain, Arnaud, TV, Naomi, James, Alice and the rest of the Google team, and many other fantastic people I possibly forget.

I felt so much energy in that conference. So many good things happening. So many to come.

Notes

[1] yes, I also trolled them at the end about the name policing and Nymwars, I had too, and some people thanked me for that

Friday 20 January 2012

Firefox accessibility

Since I joined the accessibility team at Mozilla I took on one of the task that was in need to be solved: bringing back accessibility in Firefox on Mac as it has been lagging behind.

Marco already wrote about how things are ramping up and started filing more bugs on what is broken in the build I provided.

With the quick release cycle, I can't really commit on which Firefox version this will be in, but the code is current in Nightly, aka Firefox 12, except that on Mac we don't build with accessibility enabled yet.

Friday 28 October 2011

New adventures

Today was my last day on iWork™. I'd like to thanks my team for these last two years and wish them the best, it was fantastic.

Monday will be the beginning of new adventures, at Mozilla. I'll be in Toronto the first week, but will be based in Vancouver.