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Project Summary

This article describes the plans for OATS (Open-source Assistive Technology Software), the development of the first open-source software repository and forge dedicated to Assistive Technology (AT).

Web-based, OATS will provide a one-stop “shop” for end users, clinicians and open-source developers to meet, exchange notes, promote new ideas, develop new software and download reliable open-source AT software.

Initially, the OATS Project is a one-year pilot project finishing in March 2006.  If successful, its exit strategy will be for it to become a self-supporting, on-going web-based service for end users, AT professionals, and open-source developers.

The Repository:

Via its repository or library the project will make existing OATS more accessible by:

  • Listing software in a central web-based databaseRepository - an online library
  • Offering simple and easy methods to find appropriate software
  • Standardising the downloading and installation of software
  • Providing a level of quality assurance to guide potential end users

The Forge:

Via its forge or “dating agency” the project will also encourage the development of innovative OATS by:

  • Attracting volunteer software developersForge- where new software is created
  • Developing new AT software based on specific user needs
  • Providing a dynamic discussion forum for users and open-source developers

Other Benefits for end users of AT:

 The definition of OATS will be extended to embrace copyright-free material:

  • Symbol and picture libraries
  • Software resources such as grid sets and user configurations

The repository will also allow users of AT to find software that, although not open-source, is nevertheless free

  • Any software license where the end software is made available to a user at no cost will be included
  • More emphasis will be given to software that is on its way to being open-sourced

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