Direction going forward for NeXT systems?

Started by nextchef, April 13, 2018, 10:22:51 pm

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The discussions with Rob over in the vampire accelerator thread really got me thinking about the future direction for NeXT hardware.

-Do we follow in the footsteps of some of the other retro computer communities and create hardware addons and accelerators for original hardware?

-Do we focus on the emulation side like is being done by Previous, and the adapter work of Brian Archer?

-Does it even matter, as it is all in fun?

Just curious to hear the thoughts of others in the forum on where they would like to see things go in the future.


I file it all under good fun. Part of preserving these systems is to understand and document the engineering that went into them. Creating new hardware around the existing constraints really allows you to appreciate how forward thinking the engineers that designed both the hardware and software really were. It also attracts new blood to the hobby and our platform. Sometimes the best reason to do something is just because you can. Having said that, I'm not a fan of hacking up old hardware just for the sake of it (For instance case modding cubes). But at the end of the day, if there's no interest in the hardware it all ends up in the landfill anyways. I've had raging emails sent to me about "destroying soundboxes". I get it. But without a modification you may just have a black paperweight.  I should note that I've gotten way more thank yous from around the globe for getting their cube/station up and running again. And so I think there's room for both purists and new technical curiosity. I have an interest in both.


Honestly speaking as long as the hardware itself is not damaged in the means of accelerating the system I would be all for it. I always wanted to see something like this happen but very little documentation exists on the few accelerators that did exist and far small of a community to have one made typically (especially compared to the Apple II and Amiga crowds). I would love to see one as long as it does not end up having to be hard modded into the board/system. Something that can be plugged in/removed to keep hardware the same. That said that is just my preference on the matter.

As for the concept of new technology in general towards emulation, I am not against the idea, and stuff such as Previous/GNUStep would be neat to see develop over time. That said however this route tends to have an uncertain future. Plenty of NeXT fans desire both software and hardware for that complete user experience. There is just something about using black hardware that simply does not match in any other case, and maybe its just the fact that the OS was built for the system and the case of porting it out for other systems became an after thought in the grand scheme of things. I cannot speak for everyone of course and I know that the idea of obtaining black hardware is not always an easy thing to do. (I know that well!) That said a future with developing the OS/Emulation support should still continue regardless, I just hope it does not end up a dead project in the long run as I have seen happen plenty of times before on similar projects/promises.

Simply said, we can have our cake and eat it too, so why not both? Fun can be had regardless the route, plus if any endeavor can bare fruit why not pursue it?  8)

Rob Blessin Black Hole

Hello NeXT Community: In a sense the door was always open to develop new hardware for the Cubes with the expansion slots with no expiration date. The true testament to how good this hardware was and is and will be is we are having a fun dialog about it in 2018 30 years later.  It'll happen. Best regards Rob Blessin
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community  since 2/9/93


I say do both. The accelerators will always be limited run products that the advanced and curious users will purchase and be tasked with installing (I mean, look at the amiga people and how insane some of their upgrades are, so that sets the bar for standards) and on the other side emulation helps give the fix for those who cannot currently afford a NeXT while allowing for possible assistance in either developing new apps for the NeXT or archiving software or prototype code and ROM's.

-NeXT 68040 Cube with NS 3.3 and 64Mb ram