My name is Jonathan Nadeau and I'm a husband, father, and Free software advocate. Since childhood, I've been interested in technology and computing, but accessibility through Free and open source software is much more than just an interest. It's my passion. Currently I'm a full time student and my degree is focused on Business Administration with a minor in Computer Science. I'm also completely blind. I wasn't born blind; I lost my sight in a car accident in 1992.
With this campaign, I want to build a Linux operating system focused on accessibility. Not just for blind and low vision people, but for people who struggle with dyslexia and learning disabilities as well as accessibility for people with low motor skills and quadriplegics.
This is so important to me because there are 1 billion people in the world that have some type of disability, and the faster technology moves, the farther we are being left behind. There are 360 million blind and low vision people that live in the world and 90% of these people live in developing countries. It's true that there is proprietary accessible software to help blind and low vision people access a computer, but the average cost of this software is around $900. Since 90% of blind and low vision people live in developing countries, how are they supposed to afford this? In the United states 80% of blind and low vision people are unemployed. The cost of these proprietary screen readers is also prohibitive for them. This is why I want to build an accessible Linux operating system, because not only will it be free (as in cost), but it will be Free (as in source code). Free (as in source code) is the most important part of this. Since the source code will be Free, this means that once the operating system is built, anyone can modify it to improve and enhance what already exists. I want people that depend on assistive technology to use Free software so we can be in control of our own computing and accessibility needs.
If you partner with me and join this campaign, you will be bringing accessibility to people around the world. These are people that might have never been able to even use a computer before. Just think of the things you take for granted like emailing your friends and talking to them on instant message. Or even surfing the Internet and reading articles or using your favorite social network. Access to technology can also open windows to employment. You will be effecting people around the world.
I need to raise $20,000 for this campaign. The money for this campaign will go towards building the operating system. Also I will be working on a handbook for the operating system and providing it in paper form and also ebook format. I will also need to get this handbook translated into many languages. I also will be burning CDs for people and shipping it to them if they can't download the operating system due to low or no Internet connection. Since I'm blind I will need help with designing custom themes and icons so I would need to hire someone for the graphic design. Whatever money I make over the requested amount will go towards making this operating system even better and also to get the word out about this project. I would like to travel and give presentations about this and how important it is for these 1 billion people.
If you partner with us and join us during the campaign we have some great perks for you. You can get an early copy of the operating system on a custom one of a kind USB pen drive. Or you can get an awesome Sonar Project t-shirt. You can also get a thank you and a mention of the Sonar Project website. The greatest perk will be a trip to Boston Massachusetts to attend the Northeast GNU/Linux Fest of which I am the coordinator. It is going to be held on March 16 and 17 of 2013 at Harvard University. I will be giving a talk on the Sonar Project and its process. I will invite you up to the stage and thank you in front of everyone attending the event.
If I don't reach my goal the money that I do raise will make Sonar better. I will work on making it more complete for various disabilities. Whatever money I do raise will be highly appreciated.
I have interned at The Free Software Foundation in Boston Massachusetts
. While there I worked with the lead developer of a GNU/Linux operating system called Trisquel and made it accessible to blind and low vision people. Here is a link to the announcement.
I also have started the Sonar Project and have had a great response from it. Here is a link to the website. http://www.sonar-project.org
Sonar has been available for about a month now and it has been downloaded over 500 times. These downloads have come from all over the world. They have come from places like United States, Russia, Ukraine, China, Poland, Norway, Israel, South Africa, Germany, England, Sweden, hungry, Italy, France, Spain, Japan, Netherlands, Finland, Romania, Belarus, Denmark, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, EL Salvador, Iran, Chile, Croatia, Switzerland, Philippines, Nepal and Mozambique.
Not only is this project important to me and the 1 billion people around the world but some day you might need magnification on your computer screen or maybe a family member will need accessible software and you will know what direction to point them in. Everyone will benefit from this work at some point or another.
If you can't contribute that doesn't mean you can't help. Word of mouth is an awesome thing. We really would love for the word of this project to spread so we can have access to as many resources as possible. We need you to reach out to your circle of friends and family and let them know about this campaign. While you are doing that don't forget to use the Indigogo sharing tools. It is important that you use the tools that Indiegogo has provided. So please, come and join me as we bring accessible technology to the world. Let's make accessibility matter.