Re: Announcement (content warning: death): obituary for John Boyer, original author of Liblouis braille translator used by NVDA


I knew him. He needed some help, & I'd have loved to accommodate, but
the problem was of such a nature that I really needed to talk w/him,
as in emails would've taken an eternity, and of course that couldn't
happen. I believe he's 1000% happy & whole now. But I still feel bad I
couldn't assist as I'd have liked.

On 1/26/23, Arlene <nedster66@...> wrote:
Joseph! Has he posted to this list from time to time? I think I might have
seen his posts.

Sent from Mail for Windows

From: Joseph Lee
Sent: January 26, 2023 3:21 AM
Subject: [nvda] Announcement (content warning: death): obituary for John
Boyer, original author of Liblouis braille translator used by NVDA

Dear NVDA community,

It is with great sadness to announce the death of John Boyer, the original
author of Liblouis open-source braille translator used by NVDA and other
products. His death was announced by his personal assistant who forwarded
the news to one of the liblouis maintainers who subsequently shared it on
the Liblouis development list (hosted on Freelists; cause of death: upper
respiratory infection).

John published the first version of Liblouis in early 2000s to assist blind
users with access to computers through braille. He also had a personal
reason for developing this open-source braille translation module: to help
deaf-blind individuals like him become more efficient at computing through
braille across a variety of operating systems. His project was picked up by
other projects such as NVDA, and eventually made its way to more devices
when Microsoft and Apple incorporated Liblouis into their screen readers.
John later showed interest in NVDA so he can contribute his expertise to the

I met John about ten years ago when I first started contributing to Liblouis
project. Back then the project was looking at overhauling Unified English
Braille (UEB) support, which became a central part of my contribution to
Liblouis project. Later John announced that he will be stepping down as
maintainer of Liblouis and passed the baton to a group of developers who are
now maintaining Liblouis. A few years later, I became excited when John
showed interest in learning about NVDA, and he and I talked about system
requirements and other topics, mostly from the development perspective. I
became even more excited when Microsoft announced incorporation of liblouis
into Narrator not long ago, demonstrating how impactful John’s work was
throughout the assistive technology community; the news then was personal as
I got a chance to try out Narrator and Liblouis as a Windows Insider.

Rest in peace, John. The NVDA community will never forget your achievements
and hard work to improve computer accessibility for many. Liblouis has
certainly come a long way, and it continues to thrive thanks to your vision
of accessibility, especially for the deaf-blind and screen reader user

With sadness,


Jackie McBride
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