So. What is DESQview/X? Many people, in the current day and age, may have never even heard of this system from the mid-1990s.
Its predecessor, DESQview (without the “/X”) which was first released in 1985, was a multi-tasking, windowing system for DOS. It allowed someone, with very modest PC hardware, to run multiple text-mode DOS applications at the same time. With overlapping, resizable windows.
Pretty darned cool.
This multitasking wasn’t the cooperative multi-tasking that we saw in early Windows (through 3.11) and MacOS up through version 9. No sir-ee bob. DESQview had true, preemptive multi-tasking. Fast. Stable. Lightweight. It was downright impressive.
But it was all text-mode.
Then DESQview/X came along, in the 1990s, bringing a complete X11 (aka X Windows) graphical interface with it.
Impressive, for sure. I have heard of it, but never actually used it or even tried it. This article has piqued my interest, and I’m definitely going to fire up a VM and play around with this. For more in-depth information, there’s a book called DESQview/X: A Technical Perspective from 1990 on Archive.org.