The non- and partially- sighted will be able to enjoy free, easy access to the computer and all its programmes thanks to a system which is equipped with a voice synthesizer and magnifying glass.
Presented in a press conference on Monday 14 July, the "Bright Ubuntu, a barrier-free Open-Source Operative system" project aims to create and promote a free, user-friendly operative system for the non-sighted as well as for other types of disabled user.
Mirko Montecchiani, head of the Youth Section of the Unione Italiana Ciechi e Ipovedenti Marche had the original idea. Maurizio Mazzieri, a volunteer working with that association provided invaluable help, as did the Rotary Club of Ancona.
Mirko, who loves travelling and art, is very aware of the difficulties inherent in integrating the blind into society. He has managed nevertheless to involve the staff of the Dipartimento di Ingegneria Informatica, Gestionale e dell'Automazioni (DIIGA) of the Università Politecnica delle Marche, headed by Prof. Luca Spalazzi as well as the Director of the Museo Tattile Statale Omero of Ancona, Roberto Farroni.
An open-source operative system which is also free, designed for the non-and partially- sighted.
The Bright Ubuntu operative system will be created by the DIIGA staff by customizing the existing Ubuntu open source system, so as to render it Bright, that is functional for the non- and partially- sighted by equipping it with the necessary software and eliminating the superfluous.
The logo, which is the ufficial Ubuntu logo created by Emeline Moreau, sums up the project's aim of overcoming the Digital Divide. It represents three children, one of whom is holding a white stick, hugging each other. Each child has different coloured eyes: blue, brown, green.
It is precisely this basic idea that set the project entirely within the Cohabitat - Asse Human bit - guidelines thus enabling it to receive a substantial contribution from the Provincia di Ancona towards its creation. At the press conference, Carlo Maria Pesaresi, Chairperson of the Cultural Department, was pleased to point out the relevance and innovative nature of this project which blends technology with culture.
The community and the network
The system can be downloaded free of charge from a specially created internet site http://jeap.diiga.univpm.it/brightubuntu/wiki, which includes a forum for exchanging opinions as well as on-line support (similar to the Wiki encyclopedia) which explains how to install and use the system.
When the University finishes their part of the work, the Museo Omero staff, together with a group from the Unione Italiana Ciechi, will evaluate and test the system.
The Museo Omero's multimedia point
A multimedia point featuring Bright Ubuntu will also be set up at the reception area in the Museo Omero so that visually handicapped visitors can access all the information, simply, directly and without help.
It will also be possible to download the operative system, with all the useful links and references, from the Museo Omero internet site www.museoomero.it .
The final event
The project, which began in May will finish 25 October with a special day where Bright Ubuntu will be presented, promoted and distributed.