Home > OpenStep, GNUstep > The OpenSTEP Story at Sun The OpenSTEP Story at Sun Eugenia Loli 2004-08-09 OpenStep, GNUstep 13 Comments Rich Burridge is shedding some light as to what happened around the time that Sun was supposed to use OpenSTEP as its next-gen API/GUI for SunOS/Solaris. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 13 Comments 2004-08-09 7:34 pm It doesn’t mention the fact that OpenSTEP was acquired with Lighthouse. A company run by Jonathan Schwartz. Schwartz has run one company that was sold off and killed. What’s next? 2004-08-09 7:40 pm Lighthouse didn’t own OpenSTEP. OpenSTEP is an API standard developed from NeXT’s NEXTSTEP operating system. No one owned it. Although it is possible to own an implementation I don’t thing Lighthouse owned one either. They made an Office Application suite for OpenSTEP. Sun acquired Lighthouse and got the Lighthouse Office Suite, not OpenSTEP. 2004-08-09 7:45 pm As a newbie programmer I have to say I really like the Apple development environment and the use of objective C (much easier to learn than C++) and the fruits of NextStep – so what I’d like to know is what is wrong with it ? Why isn’t *step more popular ? 2004-08-09 8:01 pm Why isn’t *step more popular ? I am pretty sure the most common answer you’ll get is Objective C. Because it’s all written in Objective C it’s an all or nothing proposition and not everyone likes Obj C (it’s too bad, I like a lot as well, and it’s great for UI stuff, and DO kicks ass in terms of simplicity). 2004-08-09 8:03 pm Why isn’t *step more popular ? Good question. I think the only answer I can give is that it is not available on anything other than Macs, at least in its curent itineration. Cocoa is not completely compatible with openstep/gnustep and the only other place I’ve seen openstep/gnustep used is in *nix. It surprises me that not more linux programmers utilize it. They need to update the theme though. I am all for functionality over looks but I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to update it. Unfortunately every attempt I have seen on this front has gone by the wayside. Now if I can only find out why my latest installation doesn’t have a working objective-c compiler, I can install GNUstep again. 2004-08-09 9:55 pm Good question. I think the only answer I can give is that it is not available on anything other than Macs, at least in its curent itineration. Cocoa is not completely compatible with openstep/gnustep and the only other place I’ve seen openstep/gnustep used is in *nix. There are compatibility issues, but it’s mostly that Apple has extended *step with a bunch of OSX-only classes and technologies that would be difficult to match elsewhere, and not using them is not an option if you want a viable Mac product. Apple has also modified gcc to allow almost free mixing of ObjC and C++. You can use the best technology (and ObjC++ is a huge, huge improvement over ObjC in both power and usability) or writing pure (ugh) C that can compile elsewhere. Metrowerks has ObjC++ on Mac’s, but not on x86; the gcc guys haven’t (last I heard) done much w/ Apple’s patches. Hopefully this will change. ObjC is not a bad language; ObjC++ is quite a good language; neither one is going anywhere as long as Apple maintains their OSX or nothing scorched earth policy. I prefer using OSX to XP or Linux (when I have the choice) but proposing that my company adopt an exotic Mac-only technology would get me laughed out of the office. I guess I’d actually like to see Metrowerks stick it to Apple by embracing GNUStep and making it actually practical. A high quality development system (which they have) and some help for the Windows version would do it. 2004-08-09 10:30 pm Well… it seems most people think that ObjC is the only way to do development in OSX, which is false. We have done plenty of crossplatform things on C++ using WxWindows. And yeah some of them even targe OSX w/o any major problem. ObjC is the preferred option, but not the only one when it comes to OSX…. 2004-08-09 10:38 pm http://www.linuks.mine.nu/gnustep/ 2004-08-09 11:14 pm With Apple’s changes and open-ness, GNUstep is in a pretty good position. It’s actually usable now, and I am using the GNUstep Live CD that Gurkan mentions. Just about anything that you can do with Project Buil.. I mean X Code, you can do with Gorm and Project Center. Cocoa > GNUstep > OpenStep are similar enough that the fundamentals are there. You won’t be able to hook into Quartz Extreme calls with GNUstep, but you don’t need to. However, with a little grit, you could pull off some of the remarkable things being done on the OS X side. Steve has done an incredible thing for computing by letting his precious environment (that used to cost $4,998) go for nothing. There are so many shareware/freeware apps on the Mac already that it’s kind of incredible. Much of this power is available to the GNU folks, also. The ball is rolling quite nicely, now. Thanks to all you GNUstep coders! Oh, and as for GNUstep themes, check out Camaeleon!! 2004-08-09 11:15 pm Let’s remember that there was a time when OPENSTEP was really cross platform. As is obvious here, it ran on Sun hardware. It also ran on HP workstations and x86 hardware. For a period of time there was even a version of the API that ran under Windows–called YellowBox. Objective-C is a good language, but C++ had already taken the OOP mantle for programmers. The Objective-C apparent hurdle slowed adoption, along with the fact that it was an also ran compared to the MS toolkits. YellowBox was later killed by Jobs, unfortunately. It would take little effort to get a cross platform version up again, even with all the new additions. 2004-08-10 11:39 am too bad that openstep didn’t became the default desktop of solaris… it sure has more sexappeal than cde. 2004-08-10 3:36 pm I used NextStep on x86, ca 1995-98. It was very slow, in comparison with Windows, OS/2, or X11. A pity, because there were good ideas in that software, as one would expect from Steve Jobs. 2004-08-12 1:22 am I used NextStep on x86, ca 1995-98. It was very slow, in comparison with Windows, OS/2, or X11 I was using NeXTStep on x86/Sparc/Motorola during that period and there was absolutely nothing wrong with the performance. The original NeXTStation was a bit slow. But anything above a 66 Mhz x86 or so with 128 Mb memory was just fine. And it was especially nice on a Sparcstation.