Brave New Worlds: On the Net

It's . . . showtime, folks! Steve announced the 1994 NeXTWORLD Expo (scheduled for June 2023) in a posting. Much speculation regarding the language of Steve's epistle and what it portends (no, not the use of the royal "we"; everyone knows what that portends). Bigger and better are both promised confidently for this year. But what is an "Enterprise Object" and what does "Enterprise Objects Framework" mean? Has NeXT dropped the OOFS model in favor of an RDBMS-based system? ("Come one, come all, and see for yourself!" sez Steve.) "Hear about PDO on HP, Sun, DEC, NCR, Data General, and others." No mention of NEXTIME, though it was promised (well, not quite) by Steve for the 1994 Expo in a comment at last year's extravaganza. (Of course, NeXT's software engineers may have had other things on their minds . . . )

Labor omnia vincit. In a thread entitled "NeXT giving up totally?" the relative merits/liabilities of programming under NEXSTEP were debated (yes, again). Is NEXTSTEP really object-oriented at the OS level? How do you define "simple app" vs. "complex app," and how difficult should each be to write? Some seem to get it, while others just complain (they seem to yearn for a development environment in which your average preteen can write a mission-critical custom app). And just what exactly is the relationship between Mr. Jobs and Mr. Christ anyway?

Zee crystal ball shows all. A somewhat related thread: "The REAL future operating systems" debated (quite acrimoniously at points) the relative ease of porting NEXTSTEP vs. Windows NT to other platforms. (BTW, fun to see some Microsoft employees joining us on comp.sys.next.) Ages into the thread, someone pointed out that portability is only one measure of the value of an OS. Most agree, however, that Windows is the "digital equivalent of a neon-infested suburban strip."

Survival of the fattest. Worries in another thread about the way a certain very large publisher of OSes and application software competes. What's the line between "agressive competition" and illegal competition? What are the merits of unregulated competition? How free is our "free market" anyway? Do they really chain employees to their desks and only allow them to read company docs?

Jungle fever. The most popular NEXTSTEP Flavor of the Month seems to be "Tropical Reptile." Various Gecko sightings, various specs posted. What do hardware benchmarks mean anyway? Is a Gecko a better deal than a Pentium PC? And what does NEXTSTEP in 24-bit color look like after undergoing "color recovery" to run on the 8-bit display system on Gecko? Wildly divergent opinions on this, so caveat emptor. Above all, "When/where can I get one?" Strong consensus emerges that HP charges astronomical prices for system upgrades, peripherals, and other aftermarket add-ons. Read the fine print. Critical question for those who care about Life's most important issue aesthetics is: If Motorola hardware is black and Intel is called white, what color is the lizard? Red? Green? Or is it a chameleon?

Nota bene. In Open Systems Today (January 10, 1994) NEXTSTEP was very favorably written up in two articles (the poster seemed almost surprised). Second article contained this interesting quote: ". . . keep in mind that COSE is a spec, Taligent's Pink and Microsoft's Cairo are vapor, but NextStep is a product."

by Steve Fricke