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OS X Operating Systems

Steve Jobs Demos NeXTSTEP 3.0 465

Posted by michael
from the step-by-step-the-longest-march dept.
node 3 writes "Following the current trend of posting video from product demos long past, openstep.se has posted a 55MB video from 1992 of Steve Jobs demoing NeXTSTEP 3.0. They already have 4 mirrors hosting the file, but hopefully someone will set up a torrent (I would, but I don't have a place to post it). If you find the demo compelling and want to try out NeXTSTEP for yourself, you can always go here or here to get started."
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Steve Jobs Demos NeXTSTEP 3.0

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  • Next NeXTSTEP? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Pan T. Hose (707794) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @09:34PM (#11517032) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't it make more sense for Apple to contribute to GNUstep [gnustep.org]?
  • by interactive_civilian (205158) <mamoru@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday January 29, 2005 @09:38PM (#11517048) Homepage Journal
    I caught this link yesterday on the Mac.Ach. on the ArsTechnica forums, and they had a .torrent link on the page itself (though that was for an older version of the video which was missing the last 10 minutes), but it seems to have disappeared. Either that or they haven't made a torrent for the new file...

    Anyway, think about it people. This video was made in 1992!!! It is amazing how advanced NeXT was at that time. I mean, that machine is what?...a 68030? 040? 33MHz? Amazing! A lot of the technologies that we take for granted in MacOS X were already around at the time, as well as some other things (such as OpenDoc) which were not introduced in other systems for years and have yet to be re-implemented.

    Truly an impressive OS.

    Oh, and it is great to hear Steve Jobs say "BOOOM!" during his demos. ;)

  • That explains it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jspoon (585173) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @09:39PM (#11517056)
    When I downloaded it half an hour ago I thought it was remarkably sluggish to download for something posted on MacSlash several days ago. Now I understand.

    Anyway, this is pretty cool stuff. You can definitely see the broad strokes of OS X in most every part of this demo. Interface builder still ruled.

    A few years ago, I was this close to buying a NeXT box at a University surplus store but it wasn't in booting condition and I didn't have time to determine what was wrong with it. WOuld have been fun to play with though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 29, 2005 @09:39PM (#11517059)
    That video was an INTERNAL microsoft joke. They have them from time to time, not an actual advert. Ballmer did it for the entertainment of MS employees, not for customers.
  • Old Hardware (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @09:45PM (#11517093) Homepage Journal
    I agree it shows you what could be done in the old days.

    It was due to the fact that programmers understood the hardware's limitations and made do with what they had. Regardless of whos.. Be it a Mac, an apple IIGS, atari ST.. whatever...

    Today, its 'just throw some more cycles at it, the user can just upgrade'. All the wonderfuly fast hardware and gobs of memory have made all the system guys lazy..

  • Good point! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by interactive_civilian (205158) <mamoru@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday January 29, 2005 @09:56PM (#11517153) Homepage Journal
    nurb432 said:
    It was due to the fact that programmers understood the hardware's limitations and made do with what they had. Regardless of whos.. Be it a Mac, an apple IIGS, atari ST.. whatever...
    I agree. There are many times when I think about some of the things that I do on computers today, and sometimes it seems like they aren't much faster than years ago...of course, now with the power and the multi-tasking I can do many more things at the same time...

    but think about it. Back in the 80s and early-mid 90s, a lot of things on computers were VERY hardware limited and developers had to program efficiently to get things to run with some semblence (sp?) of speed. IANADeveloper, but it seems to me that that kind of efficiency has for the most part disappeared (and this is not a knock on developers...you guys are doing amazing things!).

    I guess I just imagine about what it would be like if the same kind of efficiency that was used to make things run quickly on an 040 was used to make things run on a G4 or G5 today and it blows my mind.

    Of course, there is a lot that I don't understand about developing and the hardware has also advanced so much that programming for efficiency due to hardware limitations like developers had to back in the day probably doesn't apply as much any more.

    thoughts?

  • by TheKidWho (705796) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @10:01PM (#11517174)
    OS X IS NeXT!
  • by bonch (38532) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @10:12PM (#11517232)
    The technology behind OS X is going on almost two decades. :)

    The only thing immature about OS X coming out of the gate was the Aqua interface, which they finally patched up around 10.2.

    On an unrelated note, on Panther, and with Tiger upcoming, the interface is so polished that everything else feels six years behind. I can't help wondering what Apple will offer to compete with Microsoft in the update after Tiger, which might be coming out the year Longhorn ships if Longhorn doesn't delay again. Longhorn sounds like they're ripping off a ton of OS X technology, like a new display technology, hardware-accelerated window drawing, and so on. And what new apps will take advantage of .NET? Adobe, Macromedia, id Software, and so on aren't going to rewrite their apps in unmanaged C++ .NET code just to fit in. At least on OS X, Apple offered the Carbon APIs to allow old apps to compile with few changes and suddenly take advantage of the new environment.

    Honestly, though, it would be nice of more of the major OS X apps took advantage of Cocoa instead of hanging onto Carbon for dear life. Dreamweaver MX 2004 runs like a dog, and Photoshop CS is little better.
  • by danamania (540950) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @10:20PM (#11517272)
    NextStep in 1989 was an endless series of brilliant concepts and ideas that are just now coming into mainstream operating systems. Truly ahead of its time. As someone else mentioned, the foundations of OS X are a lot more mature than people realize. Cocoa is truly a fantastic way to develop apps. Even simple things like menu item enable/disable becomes automatic due to the way messaging works (i.e., if no methods are found to handle the Print message, then Print gets grayed out automatically).

    There's an old NeXT magazine advertisement that in rather typical computer company style advertises NeXT as a big 'next big thing', proclaiming how ahead of their time they are with a list of future important things to come in desktop computing, and how they have them all.

    Looking back, they seem to have done well - take a look here [danamania.com]

    Read/write optical drives, UNIX, Postscript, their OO dev environment.
  • Wow.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @10:27PM (#11517308)
    You know, this does more or less what Exchange does, and ask any business if they could live w/o Outlook/Exchange (or Lotus, whatever) these days and the answer's no. I guess with the price tag (wasn't a Next workstation something like $20 grand?) nobody cared, but he did say he was going to port to 486. I can't help but wonder if a 486 could do this kind of stuff (a dx 100 could, but I think the dx33s where current when this was being done). All I can say is, what the heck happened? I've read a bit of the history (I hear those MO drives they Next Stations ran off of were kinda buggy), but this is big enough stuff that they should have been able to get through a few lean years and sell the technology....
  • Re:Good point! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Have Blue (616) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @10:55PM (#11517426) Homepage
    Don't forget that optimization and writing the code in the first place are tradeoffs. Sure, it was possible to perform miracles on very limited hardware if you focused entirely on one single piece of critical code over a long time- but that was time you could have spent adding new features, removing bugs elsewhere in the code, and so on.

    Also, optimizing compilers have very nearly caught up with human assembly programmers, at least when using modern chips with complex architectures and very aggressive internal scheduling (depending on platform, of course).

    Finally, there is a place where very high levels of optimization and hand-coding are still used: console games.
  • Re:Good point! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 29, 2005 @11:00PM (#11517447)
    "Also, optimizing compilers have very nearly caught up with human assembly programmers"

    Not really. Chips have gotten fast enough that it really is a moot point 95-99 percent of the time.

    Even the best optimizing compilers are still putting out much of the same crap they use to five years ago.
  • Re:Good point! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 29, 2005 @11:07PM (#11517472)
    One observation... yes NeXT was *way* ahead of its time, but that isn't 100% a good thing.

    A lab I worked in back in the 90s had a few 'cubes and some similarly speced old UNIX workstations. NeXTstep was far and away prettier and more advanced, yet noone used those boxes unless they absolutely had to. They were just *so* slow. After a couple days of using a NeXTcube and watching the the beautiful UI update in slow-motion and the machine constatly swapped you'd be begging to be back to using twm and X11R4.

    Now I'm typing this under OS X and I love it... but that's because these days I can throw the resources at the machine so I don't care about how heavy-weight the environment is.. it's still plenty fast.

    Probably the most key thing is RAM -- NeXTstep was always very RAM hungry (just like OS X is now) 8MB was normal for NeXTcubes but that wasn't really enough to do anything. Upgrading to 16M was pretty expensive in those days but now you could sorta run a couple terminals. If you could put a gig of RAM in them like today's machines they probably would have done OK.

    Also NeXT's use of DPS was pretty poorly done, IMO. If you look at the old NeWS stuff that Sun did in the 80s they had a DPS system that ran way faster on lower-spec hardware.
  • by System.out.println() (755533) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @11:15PM (#11517515) Journal
    I got a chance to play with a friend's NeXTStep 3.0 box tonight, and fiddling around in the OS, I was quite amazed with how similar it is to modern day OS X, despite being over a decade old. A few things that were damn near identical that come to mind:
    - the color picker (except for the fact that it was a grayscale monitor)
    - Interface Builder
    - Terminal.app is dead-on, except in his NeXT it took me a couple of tries to get an actual prompt to come up
    - Drag and drop everywhere
    - The beachball when an app is loading

    And when I saw Jobs demo the WordPerfect, I thought, "So what's the big deal about Pages again?"
  • Re:GNUstep demo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by roard (661272) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @11:34PM (#11517589) Homepage
    Is it possible to push the user interface experience of GNUStep out of the dark, muddled, inorganic mess that it is now and into something more appealing, something, dare I say, more feminine?

    Something like this [roard.com] ? or that [roard.com] ?

  • Re:Wow.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SteeldrivingJon (842919) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @11:50PM (#11517651) Homepage Journal
    "Actually, the problem they had, is that nearly nobody in the industry was used to OOP."

    The real killer was that everyone in the industry got religion when Java came out. And it sucked the air out of the space.

    Just prior to Java's debut, NeXT and Sun had been working on a version of the OpenStep development environment (which used Objective-C, naturally) that ran on Solaris. That went bye-bye soon enough.
  • by astrosmash (3561) on Sunday January 30, 2005 @12:18AM (#11517732) Journal
    I find it facinating that a lot of the stuff I consider compelling in OS X existed in NeXTSTEP 14 years ago, and it reminds of how disappointed I was with the direction the Linux Desktop took in the mid to late 90s (and today) when the vast majority of support went behind the Win9x-esque KDE and Gnome desktops.

    The designs, ideas, and concepts were all there in the 90s waiting to implemented. And, as hardware improved, there could have been an advanced desktop built on top of Linux that would have been a very compelling alternative to Win9x, if not the leading edge of desktop innovation.

    Instead, we got a start menu, a task bar, and a dump truck full of skins.

    At least nowadays the Gnome people have set their sights much higher, which is great to see.

    I loved WindowMaker and wished it was so much more than a lowly window manager. Ironically, I suppose, it took Apple to make that happen for me. At least these days I can afford to buy a Mac.
  • by ccmay (116316) on Sunday January 30, 2005 @12:35AM (#11517787)
    Looks like right wing morons don't produce OSs.

    Of course not, we just build the hardware [com.com] they run on.

    Don't feel so smug, liberals, you are not the intellectual giants you imagine yourselves to be. It takes no more genius to believe in socialist economics than it does to believe in Santa Claus, and for the same reason.

    -ccm

  • Re:Good point! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tyrione (134248) on Sunday January 30, 2005 @12:57AM (#11517865) Homepage
    So speaking of 1992 when the hardware began being phased out and having worked at NeXT I can tell you DPS screamed on future hardware and in-house we fixed a few high penalty flaws in coding that never got released but later the design was rolled into Quartz.
  • by dubl-u (51156) * <2523987012@pota . t o> on Sunday January 30, 2005 @01:18AM (#11517975)
    Unfortunately for your thesis, those "kits" were what NeXT customers really wanted, and what kept the company going so long.

    As somebody who used NextStep from 0.9, I'd agree that NeXT had some cool stuff, and that's what kept them afloat. But I'd agree more with the previous poster: their ultra-proprietary, we're-smarter-than-you, sealed-box attitude was part of what killed them.

    I remember one cool University of Michigan software project that required a pseudotty for each remote user, but the kernel NeXT shipped was limited to something like 16 or 32. NeXT wouldn't let you build your own kernels and refused to build a custom kernel for the project, suggesting that the developers buy new NextCubes to accommodate the extra users. End result: the project had to be rebuilt in another language and used Sun hardware, and some local NeXT evangelists swore never to touch them again.

    Yes, I can certainly see why developers would be upset that NeXT gave them frameworks to build upon, which let them build their highly profitable trading systems very, very quickly. No, what they really wanted was a primitive system which required them to start from scratch.

    Well, actually, what the builders of trading systems wanted, at least the ones I worked with, was kits with source code that they could view and change. It was hugely frustrating to be bitten by some annoying bug or limitation, with the only recourse being to call up your sales rep, give him an earful, and hope, generally in vain, for a fix some months later. This was especially fun when the bug or limitation caused problems for traders, some of whom would express their displeasure by five or ten minutes of screaming verbal abuse.

    And really, the focus on high-dollar customers like financial traders was also part of what killed them. In the mid-90s I could have written and sold a ton of great solutions built on NeXT technology, but only financial traders could afford to license the NeXT OS or runtime.

    I loved the NeXT technology, but NeXT's high-handed, arrogant behavior eventually drove me and a lot of other early adopters away cursing the day that Steve Jobs was born.
  • Re:Wow.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dubl-u (51156) * <2523987012@pota . t o> on Sunday January 30, 2005 @01:29AM (#11518047)
    Actually, the problem they had, is that nearly nobody in the industry was used to OOP.

    From the code I see out there, I'm pretty sure the industry still isn't used to OOP. Of the Java code I see in industry, about 80% of it is one of
    • Perl written in Java
    • C written in Java
    • COBOL written in Java
    Remember, folks: if the data and the code don't go together, it's not OO!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 30, 2005 @01:33AM (#11518062)
    this really isn't my fight, but - the part he disagrees with is the part where someone thinks this could actually happen.
  • Re:old apple ads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Sunday January 30, 2005 @01:36AM (#11518077) Journal
    Also, the crowd is way too liberal for me.

    You mean the crowd that includes Rush Limbaugh and Tom Clancy?
  • by SteeldrivingJon (842919) on Sunday January 30, 2005 @02:06AM (#11518210) Homepage Journal

    Quartz uses a PDF imaging model. Display Postscript uses a Postscript imaging model. PDF's imaging model is not terribly different from Postscript's imaging model.

    Quickdraw's imaging model is like neither.

    Quartz is architected quite differently from Quickdraw, and is rather more complex, because it has more to do.

    Quartz does alpha compositing. Quickdraw does not.
  • by jeif1k (809151) on Sunday January 30, 2005 @03:50AM (#11518615)
    And, as hardware improved, there could have been an advanced desktop built on top of Linux that would have been a very compelling alternative to Win9x, if not the leading edge of desktop innovation. Instead, we got a start menu, a task bar, and a dump truck full of skins.

    A start menu and a task bar is pretty much what OS X uses (Apple menu, dock), together with a bunch of quick-launch buttons. Despite all the hoopla, the OS X GUI is not all that different from any other GUI: separate apps, file storage of documents, file system browsers, icons, desktop, etc.

    The real issue is what the underlying technology is. Objective-C is a better language for building GUIs than plain C or C++. NeXT made the right choice in language for when the OS was developed.

    Today, however, systems like Gnome are often programmed in Python or C#, and those are even nicer and more modern object-oriented languages than Objective-C. Furthermore, the idea of having a separate persistent and manipulable representation of GUI layouts has caught on and in Gnome, you can use XML-based representations to do that.

    Software has evolved and become more standardized. Desktops like Gnome are on the cutting edge of what is done in the real world, ahead both functionally and technologically of both Windows and OS X.

    The designs, ideas, and concepts were all there in the 90s waiting to implemented.

    Not only were many of the designs, ideas, and concepts around before the 90s, they were already implemented, in systems like Smalltalk; they didn't originate with NeXTStep, although NeXT did a good job packaging them in a workstation system (albeit, commercially with comparatively little success).

  • PyObjC & GNUStep (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JPyObjC Dude (772176) on Sunday January 30, 2005 @04:05AM (#11518656)
    GNUStep's Objective-C programming language is just plain sweet and by adding a native Python bridge and it would be even sweeter. I hope that the developers of PyObjC can get their code trees to work on GNUStep solidly so that coders can bring PyObjC based apps to win32 and *nix environments.

    Currently, PyObjC is kind of limited to OSX.

    JsD
  • by WillAdams (45638) on Sunday January 30, 2005 @06:03AM (#11518904) Homepage
    ::applause::

    Not only that, but some rapidly accessed menu items become almost gestural in their access (and easily learned, which is the big complaint against most gesture-based systems).

    ``Punch'' in Altsys Virtuoso for me is
    - right-click
    - down a bit
    - right through two menus
    - release

    Sometimes I catch myself trying to do it at work in FreeHand.

    William
  • by astrosmash (3561) on Sunday January 30, 2005 @06:22AM (#11518956) Journal
    A start menu and a task bar is pretty much what OS X uses (Apple menu, dock), together with a bunch of quick-launch buttons. Despite all the hoopla, the OS X GUI is not all that different from any other GUI: separate apps, file storage of documents, file system browsers, icons, desktop, etc.

    Thank you for demonstrating my point.

    Whether a system has a task bar or start menu is completely irrelevant to its quality or user experience. Yet many people (still) believe that a Windows or Mac desktop is nothing more than, as you say, a task bar, menu bar, icons, etc. It is this mentality, I believe, that prevented the interesting stuff like WindowMaker and GnuStep from gaining any traction at a time when it would have mattered.

    Software has evolved and become more standardized.
    A "desktop" is just that; a standard to which all of its applications conform. It is the quality of this standard and the applications' ability to adhere to it that defines the quality of the system. It has taken the X11 community a painfully long time to figure this out.
    Desktops like Gnome are on the cutting edge of what is done in the real world, ahead both functionally and technologically of both Windows and OS X.
    I think many people would disagree with you, but I'd love to hear some examples of this cutting edge technology and functionality.

    And, please, spare us your impressions of the real world.

  • by jeif1k (809151) on Sunday January 30, 2005 @08:43AM (#11519235)
    It is this mentality, I believe, that prevented the interesting stuff like WindowMaker and GnuStep from gaining any traction at a time when it would have mattered.

    What time would that have been? WindowMaker and GNUStep would have done for the Linux desktop what NeXT did a decade earlier: they would have made the Linux desktop fail, and pretty much for the same reasons. And what "interesting stuff" do you think they offered?

    Even if GNUStep would have been technically better, it simply wasn't anywhere near usable when Gnome and KDE started getting traction (I still have the old GNUStep CDs that I got around that time).

    It is the quality of this standard and the applications' ability to adhere to it that defines the quality of the system. It has taken the X11 community a painfully long time to figure this out.

    X11 desktops have had interface standards for nearly two decades, plus a toolkit and desktop environment that implemented them (Motif and CDE).

    I think many people would disagree with you, but I'd love to hear some examples of this cutting edge technology and functionality.

    Compared to OS X, right of the top of my head, Gnome has XML-based GUI specifications, a network transparent window system, theming, language neutrality (so you can write GUIs in modern OOLs like Python and C#--possible but a lot harder on OS X), and a consistent look-and-feel (as opposed to the Carbon/Cocoa Metal/Glass mess on Macintosh). There is no technology in OS X/Cocoa that I can think of that doesn't have a comparable or better equivalent in Gnome, but if you have examples, please share them; if they are valid, we can add the functionality to Gnome.

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