IBM has also begun moving source code and other resources to an Eclipse repository. (To the right, the icon of the UT Austin Accessibility Institute.)
The move could make open source tools more competitive with Microsoft in terms of accessibility. Microsoft has long been able to use the disabled community in its effort to maintain support for Microsoft formats, and it dominates that market.
The Mozilla Foundation has been working on disability issues under Frank Hecker. Eclipse head Mike Milinkovich wrote Hecker about the IBM gift in July.
Aaron Leventhal of Access Mozilla added to the thread that the foundation hoped to contribute a Java developer to the project. I have written him to ask about whether there has been any progress on that front.
Among the tools available is the IBM Rule-based Accessibility Validation Environment (RAVEn) an Eclipse-based tool for inspecting and validating Java rich-client and Web-based GUI-oriented applications for accessibility.
AJAX and other visual tools are often off-limits to blind and other disabled users, which means that as the Web improves it becomes less accessible.
While accessibility is a niche market, it has proven inordinately useful to Microsoft in establishing its proprietary formats as industry standards. Perhaps with this donation, Eclipse can start to take that advantage away.