Dyslexics can't use UNIX (except OS-9), C, LISP, Scheme, EMACS, Windows, and other programs and operating systems that use cryptic commands. Dyslexia is a perception-meaning disorder. Letter and word order, letter shape and orientation, word division, and meanings get distorted. Here are the extra problems these operating systems cause and the reasons why:

  1. Dyslexics remember WORDS that clearly say what the commands do.
  2. Dyslexics need commands that don't jumble or miskey into other commands.
  3. Acronyms are not words. Most UNIX commands are acronyms. Don't abbr.
  4. Because some passwords can't be words, dyslexics can't memorize them.
  5. UNIX uses short commands, which miskey into other legal commands easier.
  6. One key functions work only when using menus, arrow keys, and a cursor.
  7. Crossed meanings are trouble: "cat" = "list file" "ls" = "file catalog".
  8. Aliases make words for keywords, but make asking for help on the phone impossible.
  9. If the alias word list is lost, the dyslexic can't use the computer.
  10. Word division miskeys can make the short acronyms from long aliases.
  11. Internet addresses and directory chains don't read well as groups of words.
  12. Icons help (if not obscure or acronym), but mice can't backspace.
  13. Many UNIX icons in the visual shell have nothing but the stupid acronym.
  14. To use an icon, you must find it. Parent window icons must be related.

Most of the MS-DOS, Windows, or VMS commands dyslexics have trouble with are acronyms. Adding easy names for commands is not enough. The short keywords must be removed to prevent miskey errors. Confusion results when the computer does not report a miskey, but instead it does the wrong command. The short keywords that UNIX programmers love (They save keystrokes? Wow! Big deal! Lazy programmers!) are the bane of the dyslexic user.

One dyslexic once asked, "What's that bathtub spilling water do?" It was the Windows Print icon. She couldn't see a printer, until it was drawn with edge lines, and compared to a printer held up in the same orientation. Icons must be easy to see and interpret, not professionally slick. The worst icons have nothing but unintelligible acronyms in them, causing more trouble. Company logos on icons are even worse!

Will someone invoke the American Disabilities Act against UNIX? If so, the Supreme Court would probably ban UNIX, because the justices wouldn't understand it either. All attempts by systems managers to make UNIX the only operating system in the organization must be stopped.

And Bill Gates changed computer programming, from something any teenager could do, into a major job requiring a highly trained genius. We're supposed to be making computers EASIER to use, not harder.