Based on varying degrees of success with beta versions, system administrators are using different implementation strategies for NeXTSTEP 3.0.
The 34 developers at Williams Telecommunications, of The Woodlands, Texas, reported to NeXT about 300 bugs in the first prerelease version (PR1) of NeXTSTEP. "Some of the biggest problems Ð believe it or not Ð were the compiler, and bugs in the debugger.
Some software just quit working, too," said Vince Jordan, director of information systems.
Under the second prerelease (PR2), developers "never got to the point where they couldn't do their work, so we blasted PR2 across the user community," Jordan said. The official release was "an overnight move."
Hadar Pedhazur, vice-president of equities technology at Union Bank Switzerland Securities in New York, agreed that PR2 was "vastly superior" to the first prerelease. "If push had come to shove, and NeXT said they couldn't deliver 3.0 until December, I'd have felt fine about putting PR2 on every machine," he said.
After missing several summer ship dates, NeXT shipped NeXTSTEP 3.0 in early September.
Corporate sites with NeXT machines in more than one office have deployed the new OS more slowly.
The William Morris Agency set up a network-testing environment between its Beverly Hills, California, and New York offices and brought up the West Coast office first when the final release arrived. Because First National Bank of Chicago has "tricky interdependencies with software on the trading floor," the full implementation of 3.0 for its 250 machines in Chicago and London "may be delayed a month," according to Assistant Vice-President Dan Crimmins.
Swiss Bank Corporation/ O'Connor Services has rolled out 3.0 in its Chicago and London offices, "but there's always a lot of work in any system upgrade," acknowledged Vice-President Bill Martin. "We'll have to see how it works. It still has to prove itself once it's on the net." On the development side, Martin said PR1 and PR2 proved themselves admirably; a summer intern wrote a surface-modeling object to sit on NeXTSTEP's 3DKit.
Although developers haven't voiced complaints about NeXT's CD-ROM distribution strategy, only a few sites purchased more than one CD-ROM drive, from either NeXT or third parties.