PA-RISC information - since 1999



NeXTSTEP was a Unix operating system based on Mach microkernel with an advanced GUI developed in the 1980s and 90s. NeXTSTEP supported some PA-RISC computers in the 1994 in its 3.3 release in an effort to open up the operating system ecosystem to other hardware platforms.

Introduced in 1989 by NeXT, NeXTSTEP featured complete development and user environments, a unique GUI and special display system, the DPS Display Post Script. 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 RISC platforms including Sun SPARC and HP PA-RISC.

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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Systems supported

NeXTSTEP runs on some of the 1990s 32-bit HP 9000/700 PA-RISC workstations with PA-7100 or PA-7100LC processors and ASP or LASI chipset.

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Hardware supported

NeXT supports most standard hardware of the supported workstations models:

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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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