PA-RISC information - since 1999



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. In 1991 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.

↑ up

Systems supported

NeXTSTEP runs on some HP 9000/700 PA-RISC workstations of the 90s in with 32-bit PA-7100 or PA-7100LC processors and ASP or LASI designs:

Class Computers
HP 9000 700 712, 715, 725, 735, 755
Portables probably SAIC Galaxy 1100

↑ up

Hardware supported

NeXT supports most standard hardware of relevant PA-RISC workstations:

↑ up





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 or shareware.

↑ up