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Freshmeat: Linux -- A Viable Alternative For The Blind?

Oct 01, 2000, 19:19 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Saqib Shaikh)

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"Blind computers users had more difficulty than most people when they made the transition from DOS to Windows. Would a switch to Linux be as great a problem? Saqib Shaikh thinks it would instead make their computing experience easier and richer."

"In the early 1990s, many blind people were using computers running MS-DOS. Many of them had good jobs as computer operators or programmers. Once Microsoft Windows appeared, employers wanted people who could use Windows word processors and follow instructions such as "Click on the green blob on the left to start Word." They wanted programmers who could write programs for Windows (which functionally were the same as the DOS ones) with fancy graphics which took advantage of features such as drivers and libraries not available under DOS. This left the blind computer user unable to use Windows for the next two or three years, while usable Windows screen readers were developed."

"You may be thinking, "Why do I want to know about Linux if this is what is going to happen again?" But hang on -- while the scenario may be similar, the outcome need not be."

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