NS takes financial risc

by Lee Sherman

New York – The first public demonstration of NEXTSTEP running on Hewlett-Packard's PA-RISC took place at HP's introduction of its new Model 712 machines in mid-January.

Financial-services customers and developers packed a Manhattan Marriott ballroom, where they saw well-known NEXTSTEP applications, including Athena Design's Mesa, Anderson Financial's WriteUp and afstrade, and Lighthouse Design's Diagram! and Concurrence, running on an alpha version of NEXTSTEP for PA-RISC. An HP Vectra PC running NEXTSTEP for Intel was networked to a Model 735 workstation that was deployed as a server running PDO.

"NEXTSTEP on PA-RISC feels like it does on any other machine I've run it on, only faster," said Michael Matlack, president of AFS.

According to Matlack, a prebeta version of the company's forthcoming WriteUp word processor was recompiled in under an hour for PA-RISC, with no changes to the source code. "It just worked," he said.

Sources in attendance at the event said that bundled applications, including InterfaceBuilder, appeared stable even though they were running under a prerelease operating system.

Although the event was targeted at introducing HP's new line of workstations, NeXT partisans in the audience were impressed with HP's commitment to NEXTSTEP. One source said the Object∑Enterprise initiative was mentioned within the first five minutes of the program.

Hadar Pedhazur, managing director of global equity derivatives for Union Bank of Switzerland, said that the port, along with the recent alliance with Sun, should provide NeXT with newfound inroads into the financial-services market, which already has a significant investment in both Sun and HP hardware.

"People in the financial-services community have a workstation mentality," he said. "Now I can pick my favorite workstation vendor but still run my mission-critical software." NEXTSTEP for PA-RISC is expected to be available for the HP Apollo 9000 Models 712, 715, 725, 735, and 755 workstations in mid 1994.