IBM has announced that it has joined the community behind OpenOffice.org, the open source office productivity suite, and is contributing code that will improve accessibility for the visually impaired.
IBM will also make use of OpenOffice.org software in its own products as it responds to demand for products that support the OpenDocument Format, which is the default format for OpenOffice.org and was originally created as part of the project.
IBM has long been a supporter of ODF and supports the format in its Lotus productivity software, which was also the starting point for its new code contributions. Examples include iAccessible2, which makes ODF-compliant applications more accessible to users with disabilities.
Originally an accessibility programming interface for Windows, iAccessible2 was donated by IBM to the Free Standards Group in December 2006 and has been picked by the likes of Oracle, Sun, SAP, and the Mozilla project.
IBM accelerated the development of iAccessible2, also known as Project Missouri, in late 2006 as the potential adoption of ODF by Massachusetts for all governmental departments was snagged on the issue of accessibility.
IBM’s contributions to OpenOffice.org we also cover usability and overall code quality and will be handled by 35 programmers based in China.