NeXTSTEP on PA-RISC
NeXTSTEP was a Unix operating system based on Mach microkernel with advanced GUI developed in the 1980s and 90s by NeXT. NeXTSTEP supported some PA-RISC computers in its 1994 3.3 release in an effort to open up the operating system ecosystem to other hardware platforms. The PA-RISC version was developed specifically for the HP 9000 712 pizzabox workstations.
Introduced in 1989 by NeXT, NeXTSTEP featured development and user environments, a unique GUI and special display system, Display Post Script (DPS).
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.
white hardware, Intel x86 PC technology, was supported in NeXTSTEP 3.1.
Development continued towards other architectures and in 1994 NeXTSTEP 3.3 was released with support for RISC platforms including Sun SPARC and HP PA-RISC.
Support for PA-RISC in NeXTSTEP was only brief and limited to a select set of 32-bit HP 9000 workstations. NeXTSTEP itself, while revolutionary in aspects, did not have long commercial success, however some of its ideas and technologies live on though in Mac OS, after corporate M&A and consolidation in the tech sector. NeXTSTEP ran very well on HP 9000 712 workstations with a unique operating system experience for the 90s.
|HP 9000 700||712, 715, 725, 735, 755|
|Portables||probably SAIC Galaxy 1100|
NeXT supports most standard hardware of relevant PA-RISC workstations:
- Storage required between 400 MB for a user environment to 700 MB for complete developer environment
- 32 MB to 64 MB RAM required, with a maximum of 256 MB supported
- All onboard graphics and CRX and CRX-24 supported
- HCRX and HCRX-24 graphics supported after installation of the NeXTSTEP 3.3 patches
- Onboard SCSI controllers for storage
- PS/2 keyboards only on 712 and 715/64, 80 and 100 workstations, no HIL
- HIL keyboards on all other systems support HIL
- Unsupported on the 735/755 are FWD (Fast/Wide Differential) SCSI and FDDI networking
- NeXTstep 3.3 Network and System Administration Manual, NeXT Software Inc. 1994, mirrored at NeXTComputers.org, accessed December 2019
- NeXTstep 3.3 Developer Documentation Manuals, NeXT Software Inc. 1994, mirrored at NeXTComputers.org, accessed December 2019
- The NEXTSTEP/OpenStep FAQ, Bernhard Scholz 1996, mirrored at levenez.com, accessed December 2019
- First NeXT RISCWorkstation: Our first look at NEXTSTEP on HP's low-cost pizza box, NeXTWORLD, April 1994
There used to be a large software archive available at the Peanuts.org 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 or shareware.
- NeXTSTEP Current Patch List (.pdf) Apple Computer 2006, mirrored at NeXTComputers.org, accessed 8 January 2009
- NeXTSTEP 3.3
Userpatch NS33RISCUserPatch3.tar and release notes NeXTSTEP 3.3 Patch 3 Overview (.pdf) Apple Computer 2006, mirrored at NeXTComputers.org, accessed 8 January 2009
- NeXTSTEP 3.3