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NeXT's OPENSTEP up and running on a MacBook Pro

The reason I am a Mac user, and an avid one at that, is Steve Jobs. But not in the way you might think. Yes, he co-founded Apple and is the father of the Macintosh, but those aren't what I'm speaking of. It's Jobs work after his oust from Apple that has put me behind the Macintosh at which I now type. It was called NeXT.

Jobs and company formed NeXT Inc. and set out to create a series of powerful workstations running powerful system software that would enable the type of scientific and academic cretivity that had never before been possible. The workstations were known as the NeXT Cube and the NeXTstation and the system software was known as NEXTSTEP. NEXTSTEP featured a revolutionary graphics display system that drove an intuitive user interface that, for the first time ever, put a friendly face on the underlying UNIX operating system. Its developer tools were second to none. It was good stuff.

The NeXT workstations began shipping in '89. To make a long story very short, NEXTSTEP was ported to various other platforms including the x86 PC. NEXTSTEP evolved into OPENSTEP. Apple needed a new operating system. They bought NeXT to get OPENSTEP as the basis for their new OS. NeXT took over Apple. OPENSTEP became Rhapsody. Rhapsody became Mac OS X. The Mac transitioned to Intel. Virtualization software emerged allowing foreign operating systems to run on the Intel Macs. The stage is set for a real "get back to your roots" opportunity, right?

As it turns out, right as rain. I have managed, tonight, to grab my OPENSTEP 4.2 CDs, beta 4 of Parallels Workstation software, and an OPENSTEP boot floppy from Apple and get OPENSTEP 4.2 installed on my 2.0GHz MacBook Pro. The install went with very few hitches, the system is very responsive (far more responsive than NEXTSTEP on my NeXT box), and thanks to OPENSTEP's VESA drivers, the display runs at very high resolution and in true color.

Have a look for yourself.


I have, as yet, made no attempt to setup networking on this install. That's next on the list. And if the process so far is any indication, that should not be an insurmountable task. I'll keep you posted.

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