3.3 vs 4.x?

Started by fchixon, September 22, 2006, 09:16:20 pm

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What are the differences between NextStep and OpenStep on Black Hardware?  Is 4.x slower on 68k than Intel?

I recall something about RenderMan being removed when they went to 4.x.  Also, did the academic bundle ever happen seperately(Shakespeare, Dictionary, Thesaurus, Mathematica, etc) and did they make the move to 4.x?  

It seems that in gaining broader hardware support, more of the early nifty features and selling points for a user disappeared.  

Did DSP support remain, I think that CPUs were faster than the DSPs were in the old Black Hardware as well, so did support get dropped?

Black Cube 64mb with ND (pulled out at the moment)
25 mHz 040 Cube 64mb
NeXT Dimension 32mb
NeXTStep 3.3 and OpenStep 4.2


I too would be interested in what the differences are between 3.3 and 4.2.  Is that true that things were removed in the 4.x series, and if so, what was it.  Does the same thing apply to the RISC version, as opposed to the black hardware.



Some things were removed by NEXTSTEP 3.3 or were only actually included in educational system (hardware) bundles, so almost all of the bundled apps are the same for NEXTSTEP 3.3 and the OPENSTEP 4.x releases.

What was changing (evolving) was the OpenStep Specifications. Some of these started showing up in NEXTSTEP 3.3, but the radical change that happened with 4.0 was to based the APIs on the OpenStep Specifications while including enough of the original NEXTSTEP APIs to make most NEXTSTEP apps still compatible with the 4.x releases.

As for how they compare with each other, the 4.x releases require more resources than 3.3, which is why 3.3 makes a better choice of OS for most NeXT hardware. NeXT hardware was frozen in time because NeXT stopped making hardware before NEXTSTEP 3.1 was released. Intel, Sun and HP hardware continued to advance, but there would be no improvement of NeXT hardware following Black Tuesday.

NEXTSTEP (2.0-3.x) can be run on relatively modest resources (16 MB of memory, couple hundred MB hard drive) where OPENSTEP really needs 32 MB of RAM to shine, and does even better with 64 MB or more and a big drive (500 MB to 2 GB). But we are talking about almost three years between the end of production of NeXT hardware and the release of OPENSTEP 4.2.

Apple realized this when they had their NeXT fulfillment program (Apple would provide an OS plus Y2K patch for NeXT hardware and software that needed it). They patch two operating systems; NEXTSTEP 3.3 and OPENSTEP 4.2. They then offered NEXTSTEP 3.3 for free to anyone who had NeXT hardware and offered OPENSTEP 4.2 for free to anyone who had OPENSTEP 4.x. The reason for not just giving everyone OPENSTEP 4.2 plus the patch was because of how much more in the way of system resources OPENSTEP needed to run well compared with the average NeXT system. NEXTSTEP 3.3 was the best balance.

Also, while NeXT did an admirable job making OPENSTEP compatible with NEXTSTEP apps, it wasn't perfect. I still run across the odd app that will only run in NEXTSTEP and not in OPENSTEP.

On the subject of bundled resources, I have grabbed resources from previous NEXTSTEP versions and gotten them to run in OPENSTEP 4.2 (I talked a little about that here).


Thanks for the clarification RacerX, that answered a lot of questions for me.
So then NS 3.3 or less would be a better choice for a non turbo colorstation that has 32M ram that OS 4.2 would be.

I just installed OS4.2 on a Sparc5(110mhz,2G-10krpm,256M,24bitFB), and am suprised how it slows down at times.  I have not done any intensive things yet, just installing some more apps and trying to get it on the network.  As this system is much faster than my colorstation, I can only imagine how slow OS4.2 would be.



If I had your NeXT system, I'd put NEXTSTEP 3.3 on it (I'd most likely do the same on the Sun).

It should be noted that Apple/NeXT didn't spend much time optimizing OPENSTEP. Part of this was that they had to quickly put their resources into Rhapsody and part was the rate at which the newer hardware was increasing in speed.

But yeah, I've noticed that at many tasks OPENSTEP 4.2 is slower than Rhapsody 5.1 (DR2) for the exact same hardware (ThinkPad with a Pentium at 133 MHz and 80 MB of memory). I think OPENSTEP just got caught in a weird transition period were some aspects were over looked.

Between the releases of NEXTSTEP 3.0 and 3.3, NeXT did a pretty good job of getting that system to run quite nicely. But Apple/NeXT only spent a fraction of that amount of time between OPENSTEP 4.0 and 4.2, and then they were on to Rhapsody and Mac OS X.

I think it sort of shows when OPENSTEP is run on certain hardware (specially NeXT hardware).