OSX = NeXTStep

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
After getting flamed in my previous thread; I'm back and hoping for an intelligent debate on the subject.



Everything that I have learned about OSX on my new iMac, points to it being a derivative of NeXTStep and the hardware even seems to be what Jobs wanted the NeXT hardware to be.



I guess I offended the truly religious by daring to question if Mac OSX was innovative. <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" /> I will concede that back in 1988 when it was introduced (as NeXTStep) it was innovative.



I am willing to learn. Twenty years of xNIX experience, leads me to believe that OSX is simply UNIX with a UI which is a combination of Mac and CDE. I love it, but it ain't earth shattering. Prove me wrong please.



P.S. Please check your facts first. Don't put up stuff like "wasn't X Windows invented by NeXT". That would be news to the folks at MIT & X Consortium. And can we leave my crack habit out of the debate.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Canuck, you ketchup-flavored-potato-chip eatin' fiend you, you have a point.



    MacOS X *is* the next evolution of NeXTstep, and as such isn't really all that groundbreaking.



    What *is* groundbreaking is bringing that power to the masses by making it easy to use, fun, and downright attractive to Joe Sixpack in Podunk, IL.



    Not to mention about 1/4 the price of a NeXT box.



    NeXTstep was *wonderful* when it was released, up until the day it was essentially killed off (put on life support, etc, etc), but it was wonderful more for the geeks than the mainstream folk. MacOS X is innovative in taking those core geek technologies we all know and love, and making them palatable to my 79 year old great aunt, ferchrissakes. I have a NeXTstation in my office, that I dearly love, but I can't imagine letting dear old auntie go to town on it. It just wasn't there. The UI was geared for the techie, not the average person.



    You could, of course, say that MacOS X is 'just' another Unix + CDE, but I'd say you're dead wrong. It's also QuickTime. And IOKit. And SystemStartup. And pervasive XML preferences. And, and, and, and, and... there are so many niceties under the hood that my hardcore Linux friends are seriously interested in Darwin as a possible next step. (No pun intended.)



    Add on the higher level items like voice recognition, (and now handwriting recognition), pervasive PDF creation, Cocoa, and such, and suddenly it makes the average Unix + CDE box look pretty poor in comparison.



    In those areas, Apple is innovative, and quite possibly has no peer. They're intelligently leveraging the open source movement for their underlying engine (and contributing back in kind), while adding layers of unique technologies that aren't to be found on your favorite penguin box... or black milled magnesium cube, either.



    Heck, look at Rendezvous, just announced for Jaguar. Zeroconf.org has the details. This is an IETF taskforce led attempt to reproduce the plug and play functionality of AppleTalk over TCP/IP... but note the top two names on the list of organizers. Both Apple folk. Yet it's open.



    Yes, MacOS X is based on older technologies... everything is. BeOS used C++, for goodness' sake (poor guys). The question is: what have they added to what they were handed in the NeXT acquisition? Plenty. What are they adding now? A lot. What will they add in the future? I have no idea, but I'm interested in finding out.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    ghost_user_nameghost_user_name Posts: 22,667member
    Ummm. You're kidding. Right? :confused:



    Of course Mac OS X is NeXTSTEP! Hell, you could even switch into the NeXT interface via a terminal command in the Public Beta. (I had taken several snapshots of this but can't seem to find them now)



    I think you're just getting negative feedback because these topics you are bringing up have been argued to death many times over, both here and on other web sites. Frankly, it's a sad, tired argument.



    Although it's based on NeXT, Mac OS X is *not* simply another shell for unix. That's X Windows. Mac OS X is an environment that has its own set of very unique interface and operating rules that do not apply to most other operating systems, unix or not. Agreed, it's not earth-shattering, as you put it, but in some ways it is a step above the others. Mac users are some of the most critical computer users when it comes to interface design and the general "feel" of programs. Because of this critical eye, the Mac experience is usually far more pleasant than Windows and unix systems.



    [ 05-08-2002: Message edited by: starfleetX ]</p>
  • Reply 3 of 11
    canuckcanuck Posts: 5member
    Yep, I'm new to the Mac world. The flames were not because of rehashing old topics; it was the usual Slashdot type attacks from (I assume) sixteen year olds in the basement watching Babylon 5. Not enough experience in IT to recognise that most stuff is simply refining the work of those who have preceded.



    I'm learning new stuff about the Mac every minute, but what got me on board was the fact that I could leverage my Unix experience.



    I am just glad that I am able to afford a NeXT computer, despite the fact that it has an Apple logo on it.



  • Reply 4 of 11
    spotbugspotbug Posts: 361member
    Ok, let's go on the (possibly hypothetical) premise that OS X is not earth-shatteringly innovative. Now what? Either way (super-innovative or not), it's pretty damn cool, right?
  • Reply 5 of 11
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Canuck, will you bear my children? ("No honey, I will not explain why the children are spelling everything with an extra 'A' at the end...")



    I bet you had the same reaction I did to Java when it first came out. "Oh, P-codes. Wait, this is supposed to be *new*?" (For those of you lost at this point, P-codes were a Berkeley invention where Pascal was compiled to an intermediate form, then interpreted quite speedily on various hardware. The idea was that you wrote/compiled once, ran anywhere. Sound familiar? Welcome to 1972.)



    Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you... The Seasoned and Disillusioned Geek of Experience!



    Welcome to the fold, man....



    Er, flock.



    Uh, congregation.



    Oh fsck it. Glad to have you here.



    [ 05-08-2002: Message edited by: Kickaha ]</p>
  • Reply 6 of 11
    kalikali Posts: 634member
    What's annoying me the most with OS X (as the NeXT Step evolution), is the NeXT step OS was running on 68040 processors, many years ago (sorry for the bad English).



    I played with a NeXT machine at that time. Now, OS X needs a fast PPC processor just to run at a descent speed. To me, this is an indication of the poor coding in the OS X.



    Geez, the NeXT machines, with 68040 processors, had a full postscript rendering on screen. It was a bit slow, but very usable. On a 040 processor !!!!
  • Reply 7 of 11
    fobiefobie Posts: 216member
    Blaim Quartz.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    Cocoa is the most interesting part of Mac OSX in my opinion. This is a radical departure from the older development world for Mac. The Cocoa Frameworks (App and Foundation Kits) are *all* preceeded by NS (for NeXTSTEP). This been around but was not seriously viable after NeXT killed the hardware platform. When Sun OEM'ed under the hospices of OpenStep, Java came out, and Sun killed OpenStep. Now, with major volume shipments of OS X boxes, developers from the UNIX community, along with NeXT and Mac developers have a new development platform to create good apps quickly.



    OS X is NeXTSTEP. BTW, the code was ported to Intel, Motorolo O40, SPARC, and G4

    architectures.



    Watch Apple go into Enterprise area and the server arena or tie into the big iron on the back-end.



    What Apple needs is answer to the .NET initiative run by Microsoft. What is Apple's stance with Sun's ONE?



    Best
  • Reply 9 of 11
    hekalhekal Posts: 117member
    [quote]Originally posted by starfleetX:

    <strong>Mac users are some of the most critical computer users when it comes to interface design and the general "feel" of programs. Because of this critical eye, the Mac experience is usually far more pleasant than Windows and unix systems.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Are we more critical because this is what Apple gives us, or is this what Apple gives us because we are more critical? Either way, you are correct. Microsoft is clueless when it comes to interface design. They slap together some hodge podge and call it a UI. Pictures of pretty meadows and fancy 3D effects do not an intuitive UI make. Get a clue, Bill.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    unimacsunimacs Posts: 2member
    [quote]Originally posted by Canuck:

    <strong>After getting flamed in my previous thread; I'm back and hoping for an intelligent debate on the subject.



    Everything that I have learned about OSX on my new iMac, points to it being a derivative of NeXTStep and the hardware even seems to be what Jobs wanted the NeXT hardware to be.

    ...



    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    OS X is NeXTStep minus:



    tear off menus

    digital librarian

    display postscript (no more remote display)

    file browser w/shelf

    dictionary

    EOF ?

    NFS and HOSTManager (in OS X server I think)



    plus this Mac stuff:

    a menu bar

    a desktop

    metadata (kind of)

    list view with little triangles

    sherlock





    plus this newish stuff:

    Quartz

    a not so great carbon finder with nice toolbar

    a dock that's gone a little bit crazy





    I don't see OS X so much as the natural evolution of NeXTStep as the "Macification" of it.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    NeXTstep is hardly the same as OS X, Just because they have basicly the same BSD and mach underpinnings does not make them the same. The only other simularity would be Cocoa although even that has changed alot from openstep, including PDF rendering. The inovative part comes when grandma can sit at a unix box use all of her handy i-apps and make a photo album and create a website to show them off. Just my 2 ¢
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