9/25/2002 - Sun Microsystems has been honored by the American Foundation of the Blind (AFB) with the 2002 Helen Keller Achievement Award for success in driving advanced computer accessibility support. With its vision to connect all people, including those with disabilities, to information and services, Sun is being honored for its most recent accessibility innovation - the contribution of an accessibility framework to the comprehensive and intuitive desktop user environment provided in GNOME 2.0. This framework helps create a fully functional alternative to traditional desktop solutions for people with disabilities. Sun's receipt of this award marks the first time in the history of the award that it has been conferred on an organization for innovation in accessibility for computer desktops. Sun shares credit for the award with many talented members of the open source GNOME community who made substantial additions to the framework. The community's embrace of the accessibility framework establishes a new benchmark for open systems collaborative design and development.
"The Helen Keller Achievement Awards were established to acknowledge Miss Keller's extraordinary efforts, and to promote the notable accomplishments of individuals and corporations who are role models or who improve the quality of life for people who are blind or visually impaired," said Carl R. Augusto, president and CEO, American Foundation for the Blind. "Sun Microsystems has a history of driving improvements for the disability community by producing innovative technology and platforms that support the development and delivery of solutions to help meet every person's needs."
"Sun is now successfully integrating accessibility-design at the earliest stages of product development. We believe in a vision of anyone, anytime, any place, and any device computing. We're very proud to be honored by the AFB for our efforts in making computer accessibility a reality for everyone," said Patricia Sueltz, executive vice president of Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Driven by the "universal design" belief that creating technology solutions to meet the needs of users with disabilities can improve the productivity of all users, Sun has long been involved in spearheading technology advancements benefiting the disability community - from its well-established JavaTM technology accessibility efforts to more recent innovations with the GNOME 2.0 desktop platform.
The GNOME 2.0 platform, which is expected to be available later this year from Sun for the SolarisTM Operating Environment, is a free, open source desktop user interface for GNU/Linux and UNIX systems. GNOME 2.0 is the work of a broad community of developers, of which Sun is only one member. Contributors to the platform have made it possible for Sun's accessibility work to bear fruit, and developers of the core GNOME technologies and key desktop applications have contributed directly to the accessibility framework. Their collaboration has been crucial to the success of the effort. Upcoming versions of the platform will feature a built-in screen reader, screen magnifier and on-screen keyboard. These facilities are designed to meet the needs of people with low vision and blind users, as well as users with limitations in using the keyboard and standard pointing devices. By providing accessibility features that are designed into technology platforms from the start, not bolted on as an afterthought, Sun strives to ensure that computer technology reaches as broad a community as possible.
About Sun Microsystems
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision — "The Network Is The ComputerTM" — has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work.
Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Java, Solaris and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Unix is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries, exclusively licensed through X/Open Company, Ltd.
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