NeXTSTEP was a Mach Microkernel-based Unix operating systems with an advanced user interface for the time of the 1980s and 90s. Introduced in 1989 by NeXT Inc., NeXTSTEP featured complete development and user environments, a unique GUI and special display system, the DPS Display Post Script. NeXTSTEP supported a subset of PA-RISC computers in the mid 1990s, during an effort to open up the operating system ecosystem to other hardware platforms.

The underlying operating system core is a Mach microkernel, 4.3BSD compatible and runtime-extensible. In its early years, NeXTSTEP only ran on the so called black hardware, sophisticated and expensive custom NeXT designs, based on Motorola 68000. In 1991 white hardware, Intel x86 PC technology was supported with Version 3.1. Development was continued and in 1994 Version 3.3 was released, with support for several RISC platforms ncluding Sun SPARC and HP PA-RISC 1.1 systems.

The support for PA-RISC was only brief and limited to a select set of workstations, NeXTSTEP itself, while revolutionary in aspects, did not have long-lasting commercial success. Parts of its ideas and technologies live on though in contemporary Mac OS.

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Supported systems

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

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Supported hardware

NeXT supports most standard hardware of the supported workstations models:

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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, without a known mirror. Other than that there is not much software available, other than contemporary open source of shareware software.

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