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Why did OPENSTEP have a poor compatability reputation...

 
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madcrow



Joined: 24 Jan 2007
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 6:24 am    Post subject: Why did OPENSTEP have a poor compatability reputation... Reply with quote

Looking through the HUGE list of supported hardware for OPENSTEP 4.2 on Apple's website, something just occurred to me: this OS actually supports the VAST majority of hardware that would have been available in the mid-90s when it was current. In fact, it compares favorably with just about all the x86 Unix-likes of the era (Linux 2.0, FreeBSD 4, Solaris 2.6/7) and also compares well with the hardware support in OS/2 3 and NT 3.x. Heck it does better "out of the box" that Windows 95...

Why then was the charge of "poor hardware support" so often lobbed at NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP back in the day?
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neozeed



Joined: 15 Apr 2006
Posts: 716
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2007 6:00 am    Post subject: Well it was poor. Reply with quote

Don't forget that Windows95 could use DOS drivers...

I think the 2nd biggest hurdles (#1 being the price!) was the ammount of ram, and disk space. Not to mention needing a 486 cpu.

What were the requirements to getting 16 bit colour? I think you needed the full 16mb of system ram, and a 1 megabyte video card... Yeah these were a big deal back in the day.

The other thing would have been the high cost of EISA/PCI system too. Not to mention that PCI 1.0 and early 1.1 were flakey as hell. Just look at emulators 'issues' with NS/OS.. You'll see the way it drives hardware is in areas that people in the 'almost compatible' market still don't know 100%.
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RacerX



Joined: 03 Jan 2006
Posts: 333
Location: Twin Cities, MN

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Why did OPENSTEP have a poor compatability reputation... Reply with quote

madcrow wrote:
Why then was the charge of "poor hardware support" so often lobbed at NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP back in the day?

I think it depends on which day you are looking at.

Most perceptions of products are formed in the public's mind early and few people return to their initial opinions to check to see if anything had changed. You are looking at what is supported by OPENSTEP 4.2 (the most mature version) which continued to have drivers made for it at least through 1999. But most people based their opinions on NEXTSTEP 3.1, which was the first release for PCs.

And you should also recall who's cries would have been heard the loudest back then... which would have been those of NeXT users. Those people had just had the production of all NeXT hardware halted and were being forced to look to PCs for their future hardware needs. Installing NEXTSTEP on a PC is significantly harder than on a NeXTstation (or even a SPARCstation for that matter), and was totally an alien process by comparison to what NeXT users were used to (which was the ideal environment presented to them out of the box).

So yes, by the time Apple stopped selling OPENSTEP in 2001, it was no longer that hard to install it on a standard PC, but when NeXT introduced NEXTSTEP 3.1 for PCs back in 1993 it was quite a painful experience for users. Shocked
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