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How many NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP Users Are There?

 
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Do you prefer NeXTSTEP or OPENSTEP on NeXT Hardware?
NeXTSTEP
80%
 80%  [ 12 ]
OPENSTEP
20%
 20%  [ 3 ]
Total Votes : 15

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NeXTsociety



Joined: 29 Nov 2007
Posts: 453
Location: Grass Valley, CA.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:42 am    Post subject: How many NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP Users Are There? Reply with quote

Just curious if anyone has a general idea of how many NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP users remain that actually still use this platform? And how many of those are doing it on NeXT hardware?

I saw someplace that in all the years NeXT sold hardware, they only sold about 50,000 systems. Not sure if that is true or not.

This site appears to have almost 1000 users so that is cool but if you think about it, is that about all there is left using NeXTSTEP. One would think if this is probably the best site today to get all info NeXT that most owning such systems would be members.
And of the 1000 members here, how many are actually active? Is there a report that can show of how many members there are here they at least post on a weekly monthly bases of somekind. Or, are most lurkers like I was since 2007?

Either way, I am excited to be getting back into NeXT!

tj

Edit: Poll Added.


Last edited by NeXTsociety on Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:27 pm; edited 2 times in total
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RacerX



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

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I use OPENSTEP sporadically... though there are certain apps that I only have for NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP. I don't own any NeXT hardware and haven't used NeXT hardware since the mid-90s, I run OPENSTEP on my IBM ThinkPad and Sun SPARCstation.

There sure seems to me to be a lot of NeXT users still around... but that is most likely a matter of perspective. I'm used to being pretty much the only Rhapsody user left on the planet, so the NeXT community seems absolutely bustling with activity by comparison. Very Happy
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helf



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 1097
Location: Alabama, USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The last few months I haven't had my NeXT up, but that is mostly because I've been rearranging my room and its a wreck right now. Once I have it like I want, I'll start using my NeXT again. When it was up I used it nearly every day for mostly textual stuff such as IRC, email, document editing, etc.
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victormeunier



Joined: 03 Dec 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As for myself, i use it in a very sporadic way, it's a virtualized version of NeXTSTEP 3.3 because i really don't like the look of OpenStep. Otherwise i think if i had to choose another version of NS that'd be the very first one, available with the cube, in black and white, i love it !

Lately i've been mostly playing with the OS but nothing really serious, as i don't have black hardware it is difficult to run it aside Mac OS X and find interest in using it for work. Maybe if i had a unit...
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NeXTsociety



Joined: 29 Nov 2007
Posts: 453
Location: Grass Valley, CA.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

victormeunier wrote:
As for myself, i use it in a very sporadic way, it's a virtualized version of NeXTSTEP 3.3 because i really don't like the look of OpenStep. Otherwise i think if i had to choose another version of NS that'd be the very first one, available with the cube, in black and white, i love it !

Lately i've been mostly playing with the OS but nothing really serious, as i don't have black hardware it is difficult to run it aside Mac OS X and find interest in using it for work. Maybe if i had a unit...


What is the big difference in terms of appearance between NeXTSTEP and OPENSTEP? Does OPENSTEP look and feel that different? I thought OPENSTEP was basically NeXSTEP 4.x but with new capabilities.

For me, since I am a newbie all over again with my NeXT box, all my manuals are NeXTSTEP specific. I need and love printed books on what I use so for me, NeXTSTEP is what I plan on using unless I can get as many books on OPENSTEP as I can with NEXTSTEP. I don't see many though.

I do like the feel of NeXTSTEP also so scares me a bit if OPENSTEP really looks and feels that much different.

tj
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RacerX



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

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

victormeunier wrote:
As for myself, i use it in a very sporadic way, it's a virtualized version of NeXTSTEP 3.3 because i really don't like the look of OpenStep.

-and-
NeXTsociety wrote:
What is the big difference in terms of appearance between NeXTSTEP and OPENSTEP? Does OPENSTEP look and feel that different? I thought OPENSTEP was basically NeXSTEP 4.x but with new capabilities.

For me, since I am a newbie all over again with my NeXT box, all my manuals are NeXTSTEP specific. I need and love printed books on what I use so for me, NeXTSTEP is what I plan on using unless I can get as many books on OPENSTEP as I can with NEXTSTEP. I don't see many though.

I do like the feel of NeXTSTEP also so scares me a bit if OPENSTEP really looks and feels that much different.

They don't look or feel any different. They don't work any different.

NeXT had started work on a new user interface for OPENSTEP, but as they realized that they really wanted out of the OS business and wanted to hand those customers over to Sun (who had replicated the NEXTSTEP 3 environment for Solaris), they scrapped all the changes. Nothing, at all, changed between NEXTSTEP 3.3 and OPENSTEP 4.x in how the system looked and felt.

The only thing that changed was the inclusion of OpenStep APIs based on the modified APIs of NEXTSTEP 3.3 which NeXT and Sun had been working on to make them more portable to other platforms.


What is odd is how much fear about this has been brought up around here in recent months. I don't recall this ever having been brought up as much before... and one has to wonder why any of us would be using OPENSTEP if there was any loss of anything by doing so.

It is funny in that I own NEXTSTEP 3.3 (and 3.1 for that matter), and haven't even considered using in on a work system since I got a copy of OPENSTEP 4.1 back in 1998.

Where is this coming from... and more importantly, why now? Confused
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NeXTsociety



Joined: 29 Nov 2007
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Location: Grass Valley, CA.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RacerX wrote:


NeXT had started work on a new user interface for OPENSTEP, but as they realized that they really wanted out of the OS business

What is odd is how much fear about this has been brought up around here in recent months.


They wanted out of the OS business or hardware business? I thought it was hardware business to then concentrate on software only. Or do you mean when hardware was already gone and now they wanted out of software only before hitching up with Apple?

As for me, this is my main question... I have a NeXTcube 25MHz that has NS3.3. I have all the manuals on NeXTSTEP OS and also some NeXTSTEP programming books. Although not installed, I have NS3.3 Developer also.

I am not familiar yet with how Developer works but I take it I need NS3.3 User install 1st and the NS3.3 Developer on top of it to do any programming. I would take it I can't boot to OPENSTEP 4.2 and have NS3.3 Developer at the same time and would have to buy OPENSTEP Developer 4.2 to do any programming.

And if I did update to OPENSTEP 4.2, do all my NS3.3 Programming books become obsolete and not used anymore? Having to then find OPENSTEP specific books.

Curious how that all works.

tj
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RacerX



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

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeXTsociety wrote:
They wanted out of the OS business or hardware business? I thought it was hardware business to then concentrate on software only. Or do you mean when hardware was already gone and now they wanted out of software only before hitching up with Apple?

NeXT had been out of the hardware business for years by the time OPENSTEP came along... they wanted out of the OS business. They wanted to stop making (and more importantly, supporting) an Operating System. It was a money pit for them.

The only business that they wanted to continue was software (WebObjects and Enterprise Objects). Had Apple not acquired NeXT, OPENSTEP 4.2 would have been the end anyways. And the remaining users would have been encouraged to move to Solaris on Sun hardware using Solaris OpenStep (which was design to seem virtually identical to the NEXTSTEP 3.3 user environment). And it was the fact that Solaris OpenStep felt like NEXTSTEP 3.x that NeXT pulled the plug on the interface changes for OPENSTEP (so migrating to Solaris OpenStep wouldn't feel like a step backwards for users).

Sun was ramping up for this change. They bought Lighthouse Design so they would have an office suite for the environment (that is, after all, how Jonathan Schwartz came to Sun in the first place, he co-founded Lighthouse), they put together a ton of documentation (better than most for NEXTSTEP actually), this was their strategy going forward.

Of course the strategy was based on a partnership with NeXT... and they didn't know NeXT was available to be acquired (actually it wasn't to anyone else but Apple) or they most likely would have bought them outright.

Quote:
As for me, this is my main question... I have a NeXTcube 25MHz that has NS3.3. I have all the manuals on NeXTSTEP OS and also some NeXTSTEP programming books. Although not installed, I have NS3.3 Developer also.

I am not familiar yet with how Developer works but I take it I need NS3.3 User install 1st and the NS3.3 Developer on top of it to do any programming. I would take it I can't boot to OPENSTEP 4.2 and have NS3.3 Developer at the same time and would have to buy OPENSTEP Developer 4.2 to do any programming.

And if I did update to OPENSTEP 4.2, do all my NS3.3 Programming books become obsolete and not used anymore? Having to then find OPENSTEP specific books.

Curious how that all works.

Well, considering that most developers moved from making NEXTSTEP apps to OPENSTEP apps without having to go through years of re-education, I'd guess they are nearly identical development environments.

But I know that there are differences. Andrew Stone did a nice write-up about moving from NEXTSTEP to OPENTEP here.

I don't know anything about mixing and matching the NEXTSTEP developer tools with OPENSTEP... I have the OPENSTEP developer tools, so didn't need to use the NEXTSTEP developer tools in OPENSTEP. Because the developer tools cost several thousand dollars back in 1996, I was under the impression that you could continue using the NEXTSTEP developer tools on OPENSTEP so that developers wouldn't lose their investment... but I have no practical experience with it (like I said, I have complete sets for all my operating systems and had no need to mix and match).
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Nitro
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Joined: 22 Oct 2005
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Location: Littleton, Colorado USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use NEXTSTEP exclusively on my NeXT Black hardware, and OPENSTEP on a number of white boxes. The two operating systems are extremely similar, with the notable exception of the OPENSTEP/Intel VESA display driver. Others have also mentioned a difference in the level of posix support (or lack thereof, depending on your viewpoint).

Itís my understanding that you can add the NEXTSTEP developer libraries to an OPENSTEP developer install and produce apps that will run on both operating systems. I believe that Rex Dieter knows a lot about this.

http://www.math.unl.edu/~rdieter1/OpenStep/Developer/PortingTips/nscompatlib/
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victormeunier



Joined: 03 Dec 2009
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

victormeunier wrote:
As for myself, i use it in a very sporadic way, it's a virtualized version of NeXTSTEP 3.3 because i really don't like the look of OpenStep. Otherwise i think if i had to choose another version of NS that'd be the very first one, available with the cube, in black and white, i love it !

Lately i've been mostly playing with the OS but nothing really serious, as i don't have black hardware it is difficult to run it aside Mac OS X and find interest in using it for work. Maybe if i had a unit...


Edit : there is no difference in terms of appearance between NS 3.3 and OS 4.2 for black hardware, but as i am French i still make some mistakes in my writing. What i mean is i don't like the orientation NeXT took with openstep, bringing it to other platsforms (and droping their factories) like Sun's stations etc. You could replace look by smell, or something like that. To me OS symbolizes the end of a story, the begining of the end for NeXT computers (yet i have to admit it's also the start for the OSX journey, so...)
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verdraith



Joined: 22 Feb 2010
Posts: 23
Location: Cardiff, UK

PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got OS 4.2 on a fairly old K6... it runs as a NetInfo master, serving my NS3.3, Mecca, RDR2, and OS4.2 VM images (I do development on the VM, it's much faster -- and quieter -- than the K6). I wish I had some black hardware to run NS on though.

As for NS vs OS development... any documentation specific to NS would be fairly useless on OS. The only documentation that would hold true for both platforms would be stuff like Objective-C itself, Display PostScript (pswraps et al), the Pixar RenderMan stuff etc.

Without going really off-topic here, AppKit was totally redesigned for OpenStep. I'm not just talking about the 'NS' prefix or using 'NSObject' as the root class instead of 'Object', there are lots of nontrivial differences that NS-specific documentation just won't cover.

As an example, consider this chunk of NS code:
Code:

[NXApp loadNibFile:"foo.nib" owner:self withNames:NO fromZone:[self zone]];


It would look very different on OS:
Code:

[NSBundle loadNibNamed:@"foo" owner:self];


To be honest, if learning from printed material is important to you, stick with NS3.3 User + Dev for now. Any apps you compile will be compatible with OS (in that they'll run unmodified on OS, but won't use the AppKit or Foundation frameworks that are native to OS), and you can easily make the move from NS to OS at a later date once you have an understanding of NS3.3's AppKit.

Caveat: I've simplified this in order to avoid information overload and subsequent noggin implosions. Feel free to PM me or start a new thread requesting any particular programming info you might need/want Smile
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bkmoore



Joined: 01 Jan 2009
Posts: 183
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Society,

If you want to directly compare NS and OpenStep on the same hardware, I would suggest investing in a good external HD for your cube. You could then install OpenStep on one of the disks and NeXTStep on the other. Pretty much any SCSI-II 50-pin external drive will do.

I have an external drive for my slab, but I use it only for data backups. I haven't played with dual booting, but I do know that it is possible.

Brian Moore
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