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Perl Programming

Perl for the Disabled 55

joukev writes " is running an article on pVoice. pVoice is an Open Source communication system for severely disabled children written in Perl. I started this for my daughter in 2001. She's still using it and hopefully the medical world will see that there are Open Source alternatives for these kinds of applications. More information on pVoice can be found on the pVoice website (general information) or on the pVoice Developers website."
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Perl for the Disabled

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2003 @10:55AM (#6824224)

    I think you'll find the proper name is "PHP".

  • PC alert! (Score:1, Troll)

    by jdclucidly ( 520630 )

    The blaring political incorrectness of the headline is so compelling, I have to comment. One never refers to a person by their disability. People aren't defined as "the disabled" as though their disability is the most significant part of their identity. The correct and respectful approach is to say "people with disabilities".

    See Guidelines for Reporting and Writing about People with Disabilities [] for more info.

    • Forgive my incorrectness. The reason for my mistake can easily be that English is not my native tongue...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Isn't that like referring to "murders" as "people with murderous tendencies"?

      • by hesiod ( 111176 )
        > Isn't that like referring to "murders" as "people with murderous tendencies"?

        No, because I have murderous tendencies, but I am not a murderer. Not yet, at least.
      • NO! For starters your analogy should be:
        Isn't that like referring to "murders" as "people who were convicted of murder"

        This would definately be a more respectful way to refer to murderers, of course I do not think 'murderers' deserve any extra respect since they have chosen to be a 'murderer' (otherwise it would be manslaughter or similar)

        On the other hand persons with disabilities did not choose to be disabled and IMNSHO deserve as much respect as any other person (sans murderers).
    • Really is that big difference between "disabled people" and "people with disabilities?" If it said "handicapped", "disqualified" or "restricted" people i would understand, but what is so negative about the word "disability"?

      And did you never thought that all this ranting about the "correct" way to use language is MORE offendig to people with disabilities, as if they should be protected and they were unable to face these colloquial, conversational terms?
    • That is ridiculous. You are cooking up offense where none is meant. As long as you are looking for something to offend you, you will find it.

      My own language is exactly that... my own. I don't appreciate others telling me what I should say, or how I should say it. I assume you would react similarly if I provided you with a new set of rules for your speech.

      A new PC term has a lifespan of 10 years anyway, because after that time, someone will start saying that term is offensive. And a new term will
    • This is a perfect example of people misusing PC ideas to disrespect the people they claim they are helping.

      The article is specifically discussing their disability. As such it IS appropriate to identify the people by the fact that they are disabled.

      Refering to them in this context as "people with disabilities" is INSULTING, it implies that this article is not for people that have the disabilities, but instead for those that are tending to them.

      When talking about the disabilites themselves, it is appropr

      • That's has got to be one of the stupidest things I've ever read on Slashdot.
        • The original objection to the terminology was the stupidest thing. It was off topic, and offensive.

          The concept of Politically correct has been high-jacked by the morons that want to discredit it.

    • It's NOT a disability at all, you insensitive clod!
    • I am autistic (and my username is the DSM code for autism []). A common but IMO erroneous view of autism is that there is a "real person 'trapped inside' the autism". That sure isn't my experience [] - what I am is an autistic person, not a person with (and therefore concealed by) autism.

      This may not be case for every condition labeled a "disability"; just speaking up for my own circumstances :-)

    • I am a disabled person. Yes, not a "person with a disability", a disabled person. You can't miss it. I use a wheelchair, there is no hiding it. Myself, and most others I know don't care for political correctness because it candy coats the real issues. It actually diverts the focus from things like accessibility or access programs to "let's make sure everyone feels good about being a person". Whatever - get on with life, start something creative and fresh, then people will not only recognize you as a perso
  • Not that I'm a license stickler usually, but from the article:

    All pVoice software is free. Yes, free as in 'free beer'. You can download the software, try it out, if it's usable, you keep it, if you think it's worthless, you delete it. No charge. In fact, if you think it almost does what you want and you have some programming experience, you can download the program sourcecode, modify it and use that too. Again, no charge.

    That does not mean pVoice software doesn't have a license agreement. The software i

    • Why this is somewhat amusing is that it's the other kind of "free" (as in speech) as well

      The Artistic License may or may not be free (as in RMS). Here's what the FSF says about it:

      We cannot say that this is a free software license because it is too vague; some passages are too clever for their own good, and their meaning is not clear. We urge you to avoid using it, except as part of the disjunctive license of Perl.

      The problems are matters of wording, not substance. There is a revised version of the Artis

  • Having tried to find Assistive Technology products in the past for people, to meet specific needs, this really gets my hopes up in two seperate ways:

    1. Someone saw a specific need and developed an application around it. As he said in the text, the closest application available would not suffice.
    2. Too many Assistive Technology products are horrendously expensive. JAWS, the de facto screen reader for Windows, can be $1500 for an individual user for one computer only. There are discounts, grants, and loans a
    • I don't really blame JAWS for being so expensive. I would expect (not being a windows developer) that it is a rather difficult thing to get right, and there is a very limited market. This app is pretty nifty, but at least an order of magnitude easier to write.

      I wonder if there is or if there should be a clearing house for Free/Open assistive technology projects and Request For Projects. I think it would be astoundingly nifty to work on some of this stuff, but I don't really know where to start.
  • This is a great story about a father doing something for his daughter and the community. I'm encouraged by the story.
    • Re:Kudos To a Father (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kalak ( 260968 ) on Friday August 29, 2003 @01:55PM (#6826115) Homepage Journal
      Coming from a parent of a child with Apraxia due to prematurity (she canComing from a parent of a child with Apraxia [] due to prematurity (she can't control her mouth and tongue muscles well enough to speak), I'd like to ask any developers with a desire to work on a feel good project to get into this. If you want to feel like you're making a real difference, this beats programming the latest video game (and I'm a gamer).

      This is probably the motivation that will get me to learn Perl finally. This could give my child (who also has trouble signing ASL) a voice, and it's not costing an arm and a leg (ok, so she'd need a notebook to take with her, but that's minor compared to the potential).

      For the first time since I've been reading it, I'm proud of /. for posting something that proves the power of people, not just the power of open source. I'll thank the programmers with my help and praise, but I'd like to thank joukev for catching it, and michael for posting it (and all the little people in the world for making me tall). /. has done it's good deed for the day.
    • by MountainLogic ( 92466 ) on Friday August 29, 2003 @02:06PM (#6826234) Homepage
      This really points to a niche whre open source can shine. One person can make a core and release that as open source. Others can join in and extend it as needed. In the pharmacutical world they would call such diseases, "orphan." THese can be really great projects for "mortal" programmers to contribute to while jumping into the Linux kernel is non-trivial. A little perl or java can go a long way to greatly improving the quality of life for thouse outside of the mainstream. I've seen the good that can happen at my own company when we do even a small bit of pro bono work for sick kids. You should see their faces when they know that someone cares and took the time to help.
  • ...pVoice is an Open Source communication system for severely disabled children written in Perl.

    Personally all of the severely disabled children I've come across have been coded in Lisp.

    (i'm going to hell)
  • by globalar ( 669767 ) on Friday August 29, 2003 @02:15PM (#6826350) Homepage
    You may remember that Congress passed the Rehabilitation Act in 1998, which applied to the all Federal Agencies and their workforces:

    "Section 508 requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities.

    from []

    After this the Federal Government created the Accessibility Forum [] to bring industry and government into some agreement and cooperation on standards, as well as highlight existing technology and its weaknesses.

    I spoke with the original Accessibility Forum director and my first question was,"What about open source?"

    He said that the major distributions of Linux would not have anything to do with it. It was a commerical field dominated by proprietary business-models. I explained to him that if the government took an initiative for open source software in this area, not just openly approved standards, the results could have global impact for the disabled community. If he really wanted to do something that would help people, I insisted, he should focus on making the technology open and free to use.

    Interesting, he also said that the lady representing Microsoft was "a bitch."

    I know this is a niche market, certainly much smaller in the open source world, but this is an area where open source software can really help humanity. Want good publicity for the cause? Want to get people to notice OSS and its decidely non-commerical interests? Want people who have never heard of Linux to try a live-linux distribution? Software such as pVoice is one way.

    Computers are starting to affect everyone
  • Fantastic work. You are an inspiration!