NeXTSTEP was introduced in 1989 as an UNIX implementation by NeXT. NeXTSTEP features a complete development and user environment, an unique GUI, a special display system, the DPS (Display Post Script). The underlying core is a Mach microkernel, 4.3BSD compatible and extensible at runtime. At the time of its introduction 1989, NeXTSTEP v0.8 only ran on the so called black hardware, rather expensive Motorola 68k systems also produced by NeXT. In 1991 Version 3.1 was introduced and for the first time white hardware (x86) was supported. The development line (68k and x86) was continued and around 1994 Version 3.3 with support for several RISC computers was released, including Sun SPARC and HP PA-RISC 1.1 systems.

The 715/100XC workstation is probably the fastest non-white (not Intel-based) workstation compatible with the original NeXTSTEP.

NeXTSTEP is a very interesting alternative on the older 32-bit workstations that support it. It generally feels much faster and more polished than contemporary HP-UX. However NeXTSTEP for PA-RISC lacks many current applications — the system shows its age.

Note that there are two important patches to apply to a vanilla NeXTSTEP 3.3, cf. the References for the descriptions and link.

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Supported systems

NeXTSTEP runs on several 32-bit PA-RISC workstations with either PA-7100 or PA-7100LC processors and ASP or LASI chipset.

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Supported hardware

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Other documents


There used to be a large software archive available at the FTP server. It went offline about 2004-2005, apparently without a complete mirror of it anywhere.

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