Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 15th Jul 2003 18:26 UTC
OpenStep, GNUstep Every so often I have this urge (maybe more of an itch) to spend hours and hours on the web trying to find information about old, obsolete computers of the past. I am intrigued by the XEROX Alto and Star ('70s-'82), the Apple Lisa ('83) and, of course, CRAYs ('75-ish). These were revolutionary machines indeed, they wrote golden pages in the history of computing. In the end of the 1980s, a new innovative product was ready to ship, created by a bunch of people coming from Apple: The NeXT platform.
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NeXT = Gold... and GNUstep
by RevAaron on Wed 16th Jul 2003 01:22 UTC

I've been lucky enough to use NeXT stuff for a bunch of years. It was past the prime of NeXT, but before the OS X we know now- right around when Apple bought NeXT and released the first DR of Rhapsody.

I was a junior in high school, and I bought a NeXT cube for $250. In hindsight, I really wish I could've bought a Turbo color station- I could've got one for the same price. But, like some others have talked about in here, the "cool factor" of the cube was hard to dismiss.

Damn, that machine was loud. Really loud. The guy I bought the cube from was cool enough to give me a reeeeally long NeXT monitor cable (30 ft- they used to go on eBay for like $100!), so I could keep the cube in a closet. Since everything went through the monitor cable- like Apple's current ADC- nothing else had to be longer to accomodate this setup. For a while, I ended up using my NeXT cube- 25 MHz, 28 MB of RAM, running NeXTSTEP 3.3- a lot more than I did my brand-new K6-2 running Linux.

It was awesome when 1999 rolled around- and Apple had an offer for those running NS and OS to bring we NeXTies up to speed for Y2K compatability. For absolutely no cost, I got a copy of OpenStep 4.2 for black hardware, OS 4.2 for x86, OS 4.2 for Windows, the Developer tools (which cost $5000 in the days of NeXT!), Enterprise Objects Framework and some other goodies. With that, the NeXT box was mothballed, and I started running OpenStep 4.2 on my PC. That owned. With a new video card (Number 9 Revolution 3D), I had a really fast OpenStep PC... OpenStep kicked all the asses of Windows, Mac OS, BeOS (although it was close) and especially Linux and *BSD.

...and then, I got a copy of Rhapsody DR2. It was always fun to take that PC to a LAN party, and show everyone my PC running Mac OS. ;) Rhapsody was an awesome OS- call me nuts, but I'd rather be running Rhapsody/OS X Server than the OS X we have today.' That was especially true a few years ago, but things are getting better all the time.

It's kind of funny, yet sad... My 25 MHz black hardware running NS 3.3 felt about as fast as my 500 MHz iBook running OS X 10.2.6. Not everything, of course. Running a Mandelbrot viewer will always be slower on the 25 MHz '040, given the same parameters. But so much felt similar.

What do NeXT people thing about GNUstep? It rules! It'd be nice if more people signed on as developers, because it really is a valid project. I am a big unsure about the future of GNUstep. With GTK+ and Qt competing on both sides, who is going to use GNUstep? If I didn't have OS X as an option, I would be probably be using a GNUstep machine. But then again, if OS X never happened, there may be a lot more interest in GNUstep. With OS X, the majority of those who would have been interested in GNUstep can simply get the finished product, along with a nice development environment, and a pretty big userbase for the software these developers would write using the OpenStep/Cocoa/GNUstep.