TeX Hour

A weekly video meeting

Digital Typography: from DESQview to Wayland


Jonathan Fine This TeX Hour is about improving both the accessibility and the typography of a Linux window manager, namely Sway. It is a personal project, to make my own workstation easier to use. I hope it will benefit others.

For more information about the TeX Hour, including Zoom URL, see the About page.


Until recently most Linux desktops used the X-windows system (now nearly 40 years old). Now many are using Wayland. This bring many typographic benefits (now possible on today’s computers).

Sway is a Linux window manager that uses Wayland as its display server. Sway can be controlled using only the keyboard. It can also be controlled by an external process, such as a command line interface. I hope to provide some live demonstrations.

DESQview is an MS-DOS multitasking and windowing environment, almost as old as X-windows. It had a very nice keyboard interface which, 30 years on, I still greatly miss. DESQview showed itself only when you tapped the Alt key. You tap Alt to get the rest of the DEQVview keyboard interface.

But is this Digital Typography?

No-one would deny that today Web Typography is part of Digital Typography. It includes substantial elements of usability and user experience (UX).

By Digital Typography I mean using computers to render words, images and other resources for print, web pages, accessible audio and other outputs.

My monitor today offers a typographic canvas superior in most ways to that offered by my 1989 laser printer, and way beyond my 1989 monitor.

Real and virtual documents

In 1989 my monitor provided a preview of the real thing, which was print on paper. PDF introduced reliable electronic or virtual documents. Today electronic documents are often no longer virtual. They are the real thing itself. Many people don’t need or use a printer.


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